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United Kingdom

UK: Brexit is now a Reality

After months of postponements, of uncertainty, and of political debates and negotiations, Brexit is now a reality. The United Kingdom and European Union have reached an agreement on the modalities of the withdrawal.

What does it mean for European workers in the UK? And what about British nationals residing in the European Union?

This question concerns millions of people: there are 3 million European nationals currently residing and/or working in the United Kingdom, and there are 2 million Britons in the EU.

Also, there is an important, equal flow of workers seconded between France and the UK.

Here’s a rundown of the situation.

For Britons residing in France

  • British nationals present in France before 31 December 2020 will have to apply for the new residence permit that is provided for in the withdrawal agreement.
    The deadline to apply for this new residence permit will be the end of July 2021, according to modalities that will be specified shortly.
  • British nationals arriving in France after 1 January 2021 will have to apply for one of the many other “standard” residency permits that exist in France and the European Union. The appropriate permit or visa will vary based on the individual’s profile (student visa, seconded worker, family member of visa-holder, etc.)
  • If they meet the requirements, all Britons may also consider applying for French citizenship, as many long-term residents have done.

Regardless of the situation, time is of the essence, so companies and individuals should quickly take stock of their situation and take appropriate action promptly.

For European nationals residing in the UK

  • If they have a “permanent residence permit” they need to apply to continue living in the UK after 30 June 30 2021.
    • Option 1: Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (see below)
    • Option 2: Request British citizenship
  • If they have an “indefinite leave to remain/enter” status, they do not need to do anything in order to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.
  • If they do NOT have an indefinite leave to remain/enter status, they must apply to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.
    • Option 1: Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
    • Option 2: Request British citizenship

What does the EU Settlement Scheme provide?

Depending on how long the individual has been residing in the UK (more or less than 5 years), they will receive either “pre-settled” or “settled” status.

Both of these statuses will provide similar benefits, which include, in particular, the right to work in the UK, use the NHS for free, enroll in education, access public funds, and travel in and out of the country.

Circulation between the UK and EU

Under the terms of the agreement, the conditions for entering the EU and UK for reciprocal nationals will remain unchanged until 31 December 2020.

Transition Period

The withdrawal agreement provides for a transition period up to 31 December 2020. During that window, the current European legislation will continue to apply.

This means that all the current rules regarding the coordination of social security regulations in the EU will continue during the transition period.

This also entails the continuation of current rights and benefits regarding welfare at a coordinated European level.

After this transition period, only the laws of the United Kingdom shall apply. This will include any trade or social benefit agreements that are reached between the EU or its members and the UK.

This transition period will not be extended, according to the British Prime Minister.


Flichy Grangé Avocats is available to assist you with the legal and administrative matters surrounding Brexit, in order to ensure a smooth transition for your business, whatever the political context. The article was written by Olivier Kress and James Stephen Geist of Flichy Grangé Avocats.