The effect of UK's withdrawal from the EU on British citizens living in Cyprus

Posted on 27 Apr 2020, by Andromachi Kleanthous

The United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) have reached an agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.The Withdrawal Agreement came into force on the 1 February 2020, as the UK withdrew from the EU on 31 January 2020.

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time, a British citizen can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as he did before 31 January 2020.

If you are a resident in Cyprus at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Cyprus. UK nationals and their family members are eligible for residence rights in Cyprus, including family members who are third country nationals, and can continue to live, work and/or study in Cyprus.  More precisely, the Withdrawal Agreement will protect those UK nationals and their family members who have already exercised or will exercise their free movement rights in Cyprus until 31 December 2020 (within the transition period).

Moreover, the UK nationals who live in Cyprus until the end of 2020 will continue to have the below advantages:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Withdrawal Agreement.

All the above cases are clearly covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.  The Withdrawal Agreement also applies to:

  • 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).
  • 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.

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.

In any case, UK nationals and their family members who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will have the right to receive a new residence document, as per the conditions set out in Directive 2004/38/EC, which will include a statement that it has been issued in accordance with the said Agreement.

UK nationals who are unable to acquire a Certificate of Registration by 31 December 2020, will have the right to request to receive the new residence document by submitting documentary evidence of their residence in Cyprus. (i.e. title deed, tenancy agreement, utility bills, bank statements etc.).

If you are a resident in Cyprus at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Cyprus.

In the meantime, make sure you are registered as a resident in Cyprus, as being a holder of current residence documents will involve a much simpler procedure.

The content of this article is valid as at the date of its first publication. It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you seek professional advice on your specific matter before acting on any information provided. For further information or advice, please contact Machi Kleanthous, Associate, at machi.kleanthous@kyprianou.com