UK Nationals Must Affirm EU Residency Following Brexit Transition

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key Points

  • UK nationals living in the EU may need to apply for residency or register their status before January 2021
  • UK nationals may be able to exchange their existing valid permanent residence documents for new ones
  • Residency can be exchanged through June 30, 2021
  • Background checks may be required
  • Dependents can join EU nationals through December 31, 2020 through the Withdrawal Agreement
  • Requirements for dependents vary by country
  • Employers should ensure UK national employees have a valid work/residence permit in 2021


Before December 31, 2020, UK nationals who are living in the European Union may need to take additional action to apply for residency or register their residence. Requirements vary by country.

In many cases, UK nationals can exchange their current valid permanent residence documents for new residence documentation through June 30, 2021. Residence documentation changes are free of charge. However, UK nationals may be required to undergo a background check depending on their country of residency.

Requirements for Dependents

Immediate family members, including spouses, grandparents, partners, and children, can join UK nationals in the EU after December 31, 2020 under the Withdrawal Agreement, which establishes terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides information on citizens’ rights. Requirements for dependents vary based on destination country in the EU.

What Should Employers and Applicants Know?

EU employers should ensure that their UK national employees and dependents, if applicable, comply with all legal requirements within their destination country before the Brexit transition ends on December 31, 2020 to ensure their residence status is maintained. UK national employees who are scheduled to start work in an EU country on January 1, 2021 or later, and are not currently residents there, may need to apply for a work/residence permit.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.