Dear fellow Belgians in the United Kingdom,
The Embassy of Belgium has held it latest information session about EU citizens’ rights in the context of Brexit on 24 October 2018, the recording of which can be watched here. The presentation shown in the video can be accessed here.
Due to the current circumstances surrounding Brexit and the lack of solid information, the Embassy is not in a position to make any recommendations when it comes to procedures to follow in order to obtain the right to stay. The UK Home Office is the primary source for EU citizens in the UK.
The UK Home Office will launch a new registration scheme called settled status, which allows EU citizens and their family members to stay in the UK after 2020.
For more information please see https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families.
The settled status scheme is being tested at the moment and it is not yet open for the general public. In this context, it would from now on be prudent to keep any document proving residency in the United Kingdom. Those documents could then be presented to the Home Office in case of need. Furthermore it is a good reflex to have one’s administrative file in order, particularly one’s identity documents: the ID and the passport, if applicable.
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 are at present negotiating an agreement setting out the arrangement for its withdrawal.
The United Kingdom remains a member state of the European Union until an agreement setting out the arrangements for withdrawal has entered into force. Barring a turnaround, the UK will leave the European Union the 29th of March 2019. Nevertheless, a transition period has been agreed upon. It will last from so-called Brexit day on 29th March 2019 to 31st December 2020.
The EU Commission has also released a set of videos on the status of citizens in the context of Brexit, available here: http://y2u.be/jmoaS78eCDo, http://y2u.be/mmGdodfEnK0 and https://bit.ly/2M4qfm3.
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.
It is also possible to receive regular updates on developments via email from the Home Office by registering via https://gov.smartwebportal.co.uk/homeoffice/public/webform.asp?id=67&id2....
For any outstanding questions related to the impact of Brexit please send an email to London.Brexit@diplobel.fed.be. We will try our best to answer your queries as soon as possible.