The latest Brexit update for British citizens in Europe

23 Nov 2018 Maria Di Mario no responses

The newspapers have been full of the draft Brexit agreement over the last week, but what does it actually entail for British citizens who already live in Europe, or who are planning to move to Europe? We’ve done the research so you don’t have to! 

The withdrawal agreement has been agreed in principle. Britain and the EU Member States are still to formally agree, and then the agreement will be voted on in the UK Parliament. However, under the terms of the agreement as they are now, here’s how Brexit will affect British citizens living in Europe: 

The Implementation Period

After the UK leaves on the 29th March next year, there’s going to be an “implementation period” of 21 months, which lasts from the 30th of March 2019 until the 31st of December 2020. 

Living in the EU

The agreement will allow British citizens to continue working and living in the EU country where they are located after Brexit, which is great news! 

Moving from one EU country to another 

If you live in an EU country now, you’ll be able to move to a different EU country and work under the same rules as now until the end of the implementation period, so you’ve got more than two years to choose another destination if you get fed up of Barcelona (unlikely, we know!)

Access to pensions and healthcare 

If you’re legally resident in an EU member country by the 31st of December, you’ll have broadly the same access to pensions, healthcare and other benefits as you do at the moment. 


It will depend on the individual countries, but your country of residence , eg. Spain, might require British citizens to apply for a residency document. You’ll have at least six months after the end of the implementation period to apply for this document, so plenty of time to get organised, even for the worst procrastinators! 

Moving back home 

Once the implementation period has ended, and if you have all your residency documents in order, you’ll be able to leave your EU country of residence for up to five years without losing your right to return. If you’re home for more than five years, however, it might be more complicated to move back to the EU. 

Moving to the EU in the next two years

And if you’re not living in Europe yet, it’s still good news. You’ll be able to move to any EU country, with all the same rights as any other EU citizen, up until the 31st of December 2020. That means you have plenty of time to sign up to our month-long TEFL course, get your funds together and start your new life in Barcelona without any Brexit complications!

If you want to read the full text of the draft agreement (fair warning, it’s almost 600 pages) you’ll find it here, and keep an eye on the UK government webpage for any more updates.