UK nationals living in Cyprus. What happens to your residence rights after Brexit?
This article is one of a number of articles we published on Brexit.
The Withdrawal Agreement
The EU has reached an agreement with the UK on citizens’ rights, ahead of the UK leaving on the 29/03/2019. The implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, which is legally binding for all Member States, commenced on 01/02/2020.
The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. Further, it sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time, UK nationals can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as they did before 31 January 2020.
Residence Rights and Residence Documents in The Republic of Cyprus Under the Withdrawal Agreement
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, UK nationals who are eligible for residence rights as well as their family members, including family members that are third country nationals, can continue to live, work or study in Cyprus.
During the transitional period, current EU Law on free movement will continue to apply and the residence rights of UK nationals and their family members will continue to be subject to the same conditions as those under the EU Law on free movement.
UK Nationals holders of current resident documents (MEU1, MEU2, MEU3) will be able to continue to use them as means of proof for residence right in Cyprus.
Applications received up until the end of the transition period will be examined on the basis of the current free movement rules, and, if approved, will result in the issuance of the current residence documents.
What happends after the end of the transition period?
After the end of the transition period, UK nationals holders of residence documents and eligible persons arriving in Cyprus will have the right, upon application, to receive a new type of residence document, which will include a statement that it has been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement.
UK nationals who have residence rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, but will not have applied for residence documents by the end of the transitional period
Moreover, the UK nationals who live in Cyprus until the end of 2020 will continue to have the below advantages:
1. UK nationals and their family members who, by 31 December 2020, have been continuously resident in Cyprus for five years will be eligible for permanent residence.
2. UK nationals and their family members who already reside in Cyprus or arrive by 31 December 2020, but who will not yet have been continuously resident in Cyprus for five years, will be eligible for residence, enabling them to stay until they have reached the five-year threshold, thereafter allowing them to apply for permanent residence.
3. UK nationals and their family members who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, will be able to continue their lives in Cyprus, with the same access to work, study, benefits and public services that they enjoy now, subject to the specific provisions provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Withdrawal Agreement also applies to:
1. UK nationals and their family who at the end of the transition period are not residing in Cyprus but had previously resided in Cyprus without acquiring permanent residence rights, provided that after the end of the transition period they will still maintain continuity of residence (not absent from Cyprus from more than six months a year).
2. UK nationals who at the end of the transition period are not residing in Cyprus but had previously resided in Cyprus and had acquired permanent residence rights, provided that their absence will not exceed a period of five consecutive years.
Evidence required for the 5 years
UK nationals must provide evidence that they have been legally residing in Cyprus for at least five years. If they cannot provide this through a rental agreement, they can use any other document which demonstrates a continuous period of residency of five years in Cyprus.
Residence Rights after the end of the Transition Period
From 1 January 2021 any application which will be submitted by a UK national for a residence permit may be examined under new Regulations, that will be announced before the end of the transition period.
In the case of family members, however, who have not applied for a residence permit before the expiration of the transition period, the following rules will apply:
1. Family members of UK nationals covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, who have not applied for residence by 31 December 2020, will still be able to apply for a residence permit as a family member at any time in the future, and they will also be eligible to get a permanent residence after completing five years of continuous residence.
2. Children born after the transition period by a UK national or their spouse/partner in a civil union covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will enjoy the same rights as pre-existing family members.
Passports and travel
The rules on travel will stay the same until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. During this time UK nationals can continue to travel to countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU with your UK passport.
After the end of the transition period, UK nationals and their family members who are not covered by the withdrawal agreement, they will need to obtain an entry visa to enter Cyprus after the end of the transition period.
How can we help?
Our law firm can offer advice and assistance as regards any aspect of your residency status in Cyprus. For more information please contact us by clicking here.