Brexit: a reminder of the main points
On 23 June 2016, the British public voted to leave the European Union (EU). The withdrawal procedure was triggered on 29 March 2017. The United Kingdom and the EU agreed upon a withdrawal agreement that entered into force on 1 February 2020 after a formal approval of the British and European Parliaments as well as the Council of the European Union.
Consequently, the United Kingdom has effectively left the EU on 1 February 2020. Since then, the transition period commenced. In principle, it will last until 31 December 2020. If the EU and the United Kingdom mutually agree to do so, the period can be extended by 1 or 2 years.
During this transition period, the EU and the UK will implement the withdrawal agreement. They will also negotiate the framework which will serve as the basis for their future relations after the transition period. At this stage, it is not possible to specify exactly what this framework will look like.
During this period, EU law will still apply to the United Kingdom. This means that the situation of Belgian residents who live in the UK or wish to travel to the UK will definitely remain unchanged until that date. After that date, certain things may change:
- For Belgian citizens who are already resident in the UK or wish to immigrate to the UK at the latest on 31/12/2020 and register for the EU Settlement Scheme in time, the situation will largely remain unchanged as set out in the withdrawal agreement (see question 1, 2, 3).
- Belgian citizens who immigrate to the UK after 31/12/2020 will no longer be able to rely upon the withdrawal agreement. They will have to comply with the British immigration law that will enter into force on 1 January 2021 (see question 3).
- Belgian citizens who travel to the UK after 31/12/2020 will, in principle, be subject to the future framework governing the future relations between the EU and the UK that both parties still have to agree upon. It might include visa-free travel (see question 4). At this stage, it is not possible to specify what this framework will look like.