This article was originally published after a Brexit deal was struck between Theresa May's government and the European Union in November 2018.
It summarises the rights of British citizens living in the EU, as set out in the agreement. The deal was never ratified, but the provisions on citizens' rights have been incorporated in the new divorce agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson's government with the EU.
Many UK citizens living in EU countries have been worried about what will happen to them if or when the country leaves the union. If you are one of them here is what you need to about what the revised Brexit agreement says about the issue (the section on citizens' rights is on pages 17-65).
These rights will be applicable if Britain leaves the EU with the agreement duly ratified -- but not if there is no deal. Separate advice has been published by both the European Commission and the British government in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. You can read our write-up of citizens' rights In a "no deal" scenario here.
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. Rights are conditional on people remaining resident in their EU host country.
Q:What other rights does the agreement safeguard?
A: The agreement also guarantees the same rights concerning employment, housing, education and social security. But some professional qualifications will no longer be recognised, and self-employed people no longer have the right to provide cross-border services.
Q:What happens after the transition period?
A: If you want to continue living in an EU country and benefitting from associated rights after this period 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 live in an EU country -- will I be able to move to other EU nations?
A: No, not as freely as you can now. The agreement guarantees rights in host countries but grants no automatic rights to move to other EU countries to live and work.
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. However, after Brexit free movement for EU citizens to the UK is due to end. EU law on free movement is reciprocal -- so UK citizens would no longer be able to move to the EU as freely as they do now.
This article has been updated to take account of new official information.