UK nationals living in Cyprus. Residence rights after Brexit
The EU has reached an agreement with the UK on citizens’ rights, ahead of the UK leaving on the 29/03/2019. The implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, which is legally binding for all Member States, commenced on 01/02/2020.
The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. Further, it sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time, UK nationals can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as they did before 31 January 2020.
The withdrawal agreement has already entered into force. Some of the rules will continue to apply after the end of the transition period, including the rules on citizens’ rights.
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, UK nationals who are eligible for residence rights as well as their family members, including family members that are third country nationals, can continue to live, work or study in Cyprus.
During the transitional period, current EU Law on free movement continued to apply and the residence rights of UK nationals and their family members conitnued to be subject to the same conditions as those under the EU Law on free movement.
After the end of the transition period, UK nationals holders of residence documents and eligible persons arriving in Cyprus will have the right, upon application, to receive a new type of residence document, which will include a statement that it has been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement.
Moreover, the UK nationals who live in Cyprus until the end of 2020 will continue to have the below advantages:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Withdrawal Agreement also applies to:
1. 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).
2. 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.
Evidence required for the 5 years
UK nationals must provide evidence that they have been legally residing in Cyprus for at least five years. If they cannot provide this through a rental agreement, they can use any other document which demonstrates a continuous period of residency of five years in Cyprus.
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
Visas and Residency
UK nationals must register as a Cypriot resident if they plan to stay in Cyprus for more than 3 months. They can apply for temporary residency from the Ministry of the Interior, Civil Registry and Migration Department.
After living in Cyprus for more than 5 years, UK nationals can apply for permanent residency status.
Passports and travel
UK nationals should carry their residence document, as well as their valid passport when they travel. If have applied but not yet received their document, should carry their certificate of application.
If they have not yet applied for a residence document, they should carry evidence that they are resident in Cyprus. This could include a tenancy agreement or a utility bill dating from 2020.
UK nationals and their family members who are not covered by the withdrawal agreement, they will need to obtain an entry visa or a work permit to enter Cyprus after the end of the transition period.