Dear fellow Belgians in the United Kingdom,
In a referendum on 23rd June 2016, a majority voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. On the 29th of March 2017, the British Government formally notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the Union. The United Kingdom and the European Union will now start the negotiations on an agreement setting out the arrangement for its withdrawal.
We understand that many of you may have questions or may be concerned about your status in the United Kingdom as a result of this. However, aforementioned notification has no immediate effect on the present status of citizens of EU Member States, including Belgians, in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom remains a member state of the European Union until an agreement setting out the arrangements for withdrawal has entered into force. In the absence of such an agreement, the United Kingdom will withdraw from the Union on the 29th of March 2019.
The Embassy cannot predict how all this may in future affect the status of EU citizens already resident in the United Kingdom, as this largely depends on the outcome of the negotiations. Due to lack of solid information on this issue, the Embassy is not in a position to make any recommendations.
In the meantime we refer to information from the British Government on the present status of EU citizens in the United Kingdom, available on: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/status-of-eu-nationals-in-the-uk-what-you-need-to-know.
As a matter of fact, Belgians in the United Kingdom can apply with the British Authorities for:
- an EU registration certificate which confirms their rights to live in the United Kingdom under present rules (https://www.gov.uk/eea-registration-certificate/apply). In principle, this is a document for EU citizens who reside for less than five years in the United Kingdom.
- British Permanent Residence Status to reside in the United Kingdom (http://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/product/eea-pr). Permanent Resident Status is only granted to people who prove they already lawfully resided in the United Kingdom for more than five years.
- British citizenship (https://www.gov.uk/browse/citizenship/citizenship). According to current Belgian citizenship law, Belgians who voluntarily acquire British citizenship will not automatically lose Belgian nationality.
The Embassy and the Belgian authorities in Brussels will continue to closely monitor developments in relation to the status of their citizens in the United Kingdom. Therefore, we invite all Belgians in the United Kingdom who have not yet registered with the Embassy, to do so. Information on how to register you can find on our website.