Communication from the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs: Rights of Belgian citizens in the context of Brexit

 

Click here if you are a British national who resides in Belgium under a special identity card from the Protocol Directorate

 

On 17 October 2019, a new agreement was concluded between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom on an orderly exit of the United Kingdom from the EU. It is essentially the same text as the one negotiated between the EU and the previous British Government, with the exception of amendments made to (1) the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (the 'backstop' question) and (2) the (non-binding) political declaration on future relations between the EU and the United Kingdom.

Following these developments, and given the time needed for the British and European Parliaments to ratify the agreement, a further extension has been granted to the United Kingdom until 31 January 2020. As a result, the Brexit date is potentially postponed to 31 January 2020. If the withdrawal agreement is approved by both parties by the end of 2019, the United Kingdom could leave the EU on the first day of the month following ratification, i.e. 1 December 2019 if the agreement is ratified in November, or 1 January 2020 if the agreement is ratified in December. In this Q&A, we refer to 31 January 2020, for the purposes of simplification.

However, despite the new agreement, the possibility of a 'no deal' cannot be ruled out. Such a scenario will not materialise until 31 January 2020 in any event, given the latest extension.

Given the current uncertainties surrounding Brexit, the information on this website is susceptible to change in light of political events. This information does not constitute legal advice, which neither the FPS Foreign Affairs nor the Belgian Embassy in London are in a position to provide.

We draw your attention to the fact that, in the event of a 'no deal', any decision concerning the rights of Belgians to travel to, settle in or stay in the United Kingdom will be the sole responsibility of the British authorities.