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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: If Britons are already resident in one EU country, can they move to another?

As British nationals face new rules on moving to EU and Schengen countries, readers are asking if already having residency in one EU member state allows them to move freely to another.

Reader question: If Britons are already resident in one EU country, can they move to another?
If you already call a European country home, how are your rights affected after Brexit? Photo: AFP
Question: I now have residency status in Italy, but I was wondering, does that allow me free movement within Europe or am I still bound by the conditions for all UK citizens?

This question is one of several similar queries The Local has received recently, as British nationals get to grips with new restrictions on travel and life in Europe.

EU membership and freedom of movement had previously allowed Britons to move abroad to live, work, and retire without the need for visas.

This had also allowed British nationals to then move freely from one EU member state to another.

But that is no longer the case, after British PM Boris Johnson and his government decided to end freedom of movement, including onward from one EU country to another.

Simply put, this means a British national wanting to move from one EU country to another would now need to apply for a long-stay or residency visa – in exactly the same way as if they were moving from the UK to the EU for the first time.

This is because rules are based on your citizenship, rather than on the country you have residency in.

So moving from one EU country to another, while still possible, is now more complicated.

READER QUESTION: Can Brits stay more than 90 days in the EU if they have a spouse with an EU passport?

For example, a British citizen now resident in France would not be able to move to Germany without going through the process for visas, because the freedom they used to leave the UK in the first place has ended.

Each EU country will have its own requirements for new residents. Italy, for example, has from January 1st 2021 introduced a new long-stay visa for British nationals hoping to move to the country.

No visa will be needed to stay in the EU or the wider Schengen zone for under 90 days in every 180 day period, but anyone planning a longer stay, or to do paid work, will have to apply for one.

Member comments

  1. Why would you want to leave Asti? For those who live elsewhere, the church is San Secondo, where (in normal times) I sing in one of the choirs.

  2. If a Brit has residency in France, for example, does that mean the 90 day limit for visiting other EU countries has already been used up ?

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BREXIT

‘Ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed’ – How Brits in the EU feel about the UK

A new in-depth survey on British nationals living in the EU has revealed the impact that Brexit has had upon their lives, and their attitudes to their country of origin.

'Ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed' - How Brits in the EU feel about the UK

The study, conducted by academics at Lancaster and Birmingham universities, provides a snapshot of how Brits in the EU live – their age, family, work and education – and how they feel about the UK in the six years since the Brexit vote.

Unsurprisingly, it revealed that Brexit has had a major practical impact on the lives of Brits living in the EU – who are now subject to third-country rules and require residency cards or visas and face restrictions on voting and onward movement within the EU.

But the survey’s 1,328 respondents were also asked about their emotions towards the country of their birth.

Eighty percent of respondents said it had changed their feelings towards the UK.

A British woman living in Norway said she felt: “Deep, deep shame. Embarrassed to be British, ashamed that I didn’t try hard enough, or appreciate my EU citizenship.”

“Since Brexit I am disappointed in the UK. I am worried, and no longer feel like I have the same affinity for the country. It’s a shame because I love ‘home’ but the country feels so polarised,” added a British woman in her 30s living in Denmark.

An Austrian resident with dual British-Irish nationality said: “I feel disconnected, like it’s a completely different country from how I left it.

“So much so I feel more connected with my second nationality (Irish) despite the fact I never grew up in Ireland. It’s embarrassing what’s happened in the UK and what continues to happen. It’s like watching a house on fire from afar.”

The experience of living abroad during the pandemic also affected people’s feelings towards the UK, with 43 percent of people saying the UK’s handling of the Covid crisis affected their feelings towards the county.

A British woman in her 50s living in Spain said: “It was shambolic. Too late, too little, mixed messaging, lack of seriousness. So many deaths after what should have been a head start.”

A British man living in Greece described it simply as “a shit show”.

In addition to the Brexit effect, the survey also provided interesting and detailed data on the lives and profiles of Brits who live in the EU;

  • 69 percent had degree-level education
  • 77 percent worked in a professional or managerial role
  • 53 percent are of working age
  • 59 percent have been living in their country of residence for more than five years
  • 78 percent said it was very unlikely that they would move countries in the next five years 
  • The most common reasons for moving country were retirement (40 percent), family reasons (35 percent) and work (30 percent)

Almost all respondents said that Brexit had impacted their lives, with the loss of freedom of movement being the most common effect mentioned.

One man said: “My original plan (pre-2016) was to move to France on retirement, due in 2026. Brexit caused me to move sooner, in order to retain my European citizenship rights. The pandemic helped (indirectly) in that I got locked down in France in 2020, which enabled me to earn residence under the pre-Brexit rules. I had been talking to my employer about doing something similar before the pandemic broke.”

“I moved to France in 2020 in order to protect my right to live and work in France post-Brexit. My migration is 100 percent a result of Brexit,” said one American-British dual national.

Other respondents talked about the post-Brexit admin necessary to gain residency status in their country, financial losses due to the weakening of the pound against the euro and the loss on onward freedom of movement – meaning that Brits resident in one EU country no longer have the right to move to another.

The report also highlighted that only 60 percent of respondents had changed their legal status by security residency since Brexit.

For some Brits in the EU this is not necessary if they already have citizenship of their country of residence (or another EU country such as Ireland) but the report’s author highlighted that: “It may also offer an early indicator that within this population there are some who may find themselves without legal residence status, with consequences in the future for their right to residence, and access to healthcare, welfare and work (among other services).”

READ ALSO What to do if you have missed the Brexit deadline in France 

In total 42 percent of respondents were completely disenfranchised – the 15-year rule means they can no longer vote in the UK, while the loss of EU citizenship means that they cannot vote in European or local elections in their country of residence.

The British government has recently announced the ending of the 15-year rule, giving voting rights to all UK nationals, no matter how long they live outside the UK. 

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