Many UK citizens have been worried about what will happen to them when the country leaves the EU on March 29, 2019. If you are one of them here is what you need to about what the Brexit agreement says about the issue.
These rights will be applicable if Britain leaves the EU with the agreement duly ratified -- but not if there is no deal. In a "no deal" scenario, separate advice has been published by both the European Commission and the British government.
The Withdrawal Agreement struck by London and Brussels and approved by leaders of the other 27 EU countries still needs the approval of the British and European parliaments. If that happens, this is what it means:
Q:Will I be able to carry on living in an EU country after Brexit?
A: Yes, the draft agreement safeguards your existing rights of residency up until the end of the transition period, which as it stands is December 31, 2020. This is a reciprocal arrangement with the EU under the agreement. This also applies to family members, although there are rules as to who is a family member.
Q:What about after the transition period?
A: If you want to continue living in an EU country after that you will have to apply for permanent residence status in your host country. To do that you will have had to have lived in the host country for five years by the end of the transition period.
Q:What if, by the end of the transition period I haven't lived in the EU country for five years?
A: Don't worry. You will still be able to acquire the right to permanent residency by completing five years living in your host country, as long as your five years started before the end of the transition period.
Q:Will my permanent resident status be conferred automatically, with no further action on my part?
A: No, you will have to apply for your new permanent residence status in your host country no later than six months before the end of the transition period. The application process may vary between member states.
Q:Will I be able to continue working in the EU host country?
A: Yes, in general, you will have the same rights working in the EU as you have now.
Q:Will I be able to leave and re-enter my host country as I please?
A: Yes, as long as you hold a valid passport. However, there is a question mark over moving on to a country other than the host nation you are living in after Brexit. That is not covered in the document. Until the end of the transition period, you can move between member states freely.
Q:Once I have permanent residence status can I lose it?
A: Yes, if you subsequently spend more than five years away from your host country.
Q:I am a UK citizen; I have never lived or worked in another EU country. What will be my rights to do so after the transition period ends in 2020?
A: Good question, it's not covered in the document.
This article has been updated to take account of new official information published in December.