Practical suggestions for Belgians living in the United Kingdom
Notwithstanding the fact that the situation remains unchanged until 31 December 2020, and the rights of Brits and EU citizens wo immigrated to the EU or UK remain guaranteed, we recommend to keep yourself updated regarding Brexit developments and to ensure your administrative papers are in order.
We recommend Belgians in the UK to take 3 steps in particular:
1. If you have not already done so, you should register with the Belgian Embassy in London as soon as possible. You will find all the necessary information on the Embassy’s website.
2. Keep yourself updated regarding the evolution of Brexit directly from the authorities that concern you:
- The website of the Belgian Embassy in the United Kingdom.
- The website of the UK Home Office. By signing up to the following link, you will receive free email updates from the Home Office.
- Follow the posts of our Embassy on social media (in particular on Facebook and Twitter).
3. Register as an EU-citizen who immigrated to the UK. On 30 March 2019, the British Home Office officially launched the new EU Settlement Scheme, also known under “settled status scheme”.
In this context, we advise you to keep all documents proving your residence in the United Kingdom. These could be useful in proving your legal residency in the United Kingdom at the Home Office’s request. Please keep your administrative file up-to-date and specifically your identity documents (identity card and, if applicable, passport).
The first step in the application procedure is confirmation of your identity. You can apply using a Belgian identity card or a Belgian passport. The procedure is easier with a Belgian passport as this can be used with the application that has been developed for this purpose: “EU Exit: ID Document Check App”. You can download the application on an Android or iOS device (smartphone or tablet). For more details, please consult this website. Apple devices can now be used to confirm your identity. Another option is to have your passport scanned at one of the 85 locations throughout the UK. There is a fee for this service. You will find a complete list of the locations here. Your Belgian identity card can be used to confirm your identity for the registration scheme but it will not be possible to use the app to scan it. Unlike the Belgian biometric passport, the identity card will have to be sent to Home Office for inspection. Please note that it will not be possible to use the "European passport return service" for the EU registration scheme.
The British Prime Minister has announced that, contrary to what had previously been decided, the registration procedure will be free of charge.
Belgian citizens who legally resided in the UK before 31 December 2020 have until 30 June 2021 to apply for “(pre-)settled status”. In fact, this is a grace period of 6 months which extends the transition period for EU citizens who arrived and settled in the UK at the latest on 31 December 2020. This procedure is compulsory for every Belgian citizen living in the United Kingdom who is not also a British or Irish citizen, and wishes to settle there. Belgian citizens who wish to immigrate to the UK after the expiry of the transition period will no longer be covered under the withdrawal agreement but will have to comply with the British immigration law that will be applicable at that time. The British Home Office made an announcement about this.
Good to know
Currently, Belgians in the United Kingdom can submit a request to the British authorities in order to obtain:
- An EU registration certificate which confirms their right to live in the United Kingdom under current provisions. In principle, this is a document for EU citizens who have lived in the United Kingdom for less than five years. Please note that this certificate will no longer be valid after 31 December 2020.
- Permanent British residence status to live in the United Kingdom. Permanent residence status is only given to persons who can prove their legal residence in the United Kingdom for more than five years. Please note that the “settled status” described above will replace the status of “permanent resident” in the medium-term. Holders of this status must also apply for “settled status”.
- British nationality, under the conditions set out in British legislation. Under current Belgian nationality law, Belgians who voluntarily acquire British nationality do not lose their Belgian nationality.
For more information
If you are a Belgian citizen residing in the United Kingdom and you have additional questions regarding the impact of Brexit on your stay, you can send an email to: London.Brexit@diplobel.fed.be. We will try our best to reply to your query as soon as possible. You can also consult the recording of the information session held in Edinburgh on 14 April 2019 on the rights of European citizens in the context of Brexit or the presentation slides used by the Belgian Embassy on 22 August 2019 at an event in Belfast.