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Brexit and Europe Brexit and Europe

Secure the entitlements of British nationals in the EU

Last updated: 02:26pm 14 October 2019

We will […] secure the entitlements of […] British nationals in the EU.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.36

Our verdict

About 1.3m UK nationals are resident in other EU countries, with Spain, Ireland and France being the top three destinations. The UK hosts about 3.2m EU nationals.

Just as we are doing with the policy for EU nationals in the UK, we’re interpreting “secure the entitlements” as make ensure there are no change in entitlements.

Currently this biggest influence on this policy is whether the UK leaves the EU with or without an agreement in place (a ‘deal’). If we leave with a deal in place, it is likely that Britons’ rights will be similar to those agreed in the initial draft agreement. Within that agreement, the key points were:

  • UK citizens in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK, will retain their residency and social security rights after Brexit.
  • Citizens who take up residency in another EU country during the transition period (including the UK) will be allowed to stay in that country after the transition.
  • Anyone that stays in the same EU country for five years will be allowed to apply for permanent residence.

However, this deal was rejected. If no further deal is reached, and we have a no-deal Brexit, the implications for UK citizens in the EU are less clear, and may differ from country to country. Spain, Ireland and France have all announced slightly different conditions (residents in Ireland being covered by the Common Travel Area), and we can expect each EU country will be looking for reciprocal treatment for their citizens in the UK (see the ‘related policies’ below).

We won’t be able to reach a conclusion until the conditions of the UK’s departure from the EU are known. In the meantime, this one’s ‘in progress’. We’ll publish any changes as soon as they happen, so follow this policy for updates.

Secure the facts

Related policies

There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we reach our verdicts, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why. Or even better, submit an edit.