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Since 1 January 2021, the applicable rules will change depending on the situation:
- For Belgian citizens who resided in the UK or settled there before or at the latest on 31 december 2020 and register for the EU Settlement Scheme in time, the situation will largely remain unchanged as set out in the Withdrawal Treaty (see question 1, 2). Belgian citizens with either pre-settled or settled status can use their ID car to travel to the UK until 31 december 2025.
- Belgian citizens who wish to settle in the UK starting from or after 1 January 2021 will have to comply with the specific requirements of the British immigration law that entered into force on 1 January 2021. The British Home Office will make an immigration permit (long stay visa) dependent upon a points-based assessment of candidates (see question 3). The conversion of a short stay of maximum 6 months, for which no visa will be required, to a long stay (regularisation) will not be possible during your stay in the UK. The correct visa for a long stay must be acquired before your departure to the UK. For more information about the procedure you can contact the British embassy in Brussels and the information portal of the British government.
- Belgian citizens who travel to the UK starting from or after 1 January 2021 for a short stay will in principle be able to do so without a visa for a maximum period of 6 months (see question 4 for specific modalities and exceptions). Presently, Belgian citizens can still travel to the UK with either a valid identity card or a valid passport. From 1 October 2021, the British government will only accept a valid passport for short stays in the UK. Please take into account the since 1 January 2021 revised travel advice for travel between the EU and the United Kingdom (link).
This overview offers a summary of British rules that are applicable to Belgian citizens in the UK. More information about the situation of Belgian citizens in the United Kingdom can be found on the page ‘Practical suggestions for Belgian citizens residing in the United Kingdom’ and the ‘FAQ’. In case of doubt, the sources of the British government prevail.