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UK urges Brits in Europe to prepare for Brexit

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The UK Government has written to 365,000 British nationals living in Europe with advice on the actions they need to take to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.

This includes 16,197 letters issued to UK State Pensioners and benefit recipients in Cyprus, although the number of expats on the island is much higher.

The letters advise on how to register for residency and healthcare, exchange driving licences and check new passport validity rules online.

It is one of the largest-ever mail outs by the UK Government to UK nationals living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

UK Nationals resident before 31 December can continue living and working in Cyprus but may need to register or apply for residency.

British High Commissioner to Cyprus Stephen Lillie said: “We are committed to informing and supporting our British community about all the necessary actions they should take to secure their status in Cyprus, particularly as we approach the end of the UK-EU Transition Period.

“Since 2017, the British High Commission in Cyprus has organised 20 outreach events, with more than 10,000 Brits attending in person or online and we continue our public information campaign to ensure we reach as many Brits as possible.”

Britain has been running a public information campaign featuring online, radio and newspaper adverts across 30 countries informing UK Nationals of the actions they need to take.

This is in addition to the hundreds of town hall meetings, street surgeries and online Q&As run by the UK’s Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates across Europe.

The UK Government says it has also allocated £3 mln for charities and community voluntary organisations across Europe to assist UK Nationals that may need additional help to register or apply to protect their residency rights.

This includes potentially at-risk groups, such as pensioners and disabled people and those living in remote areas or who have mobility difficulties.

Beneficiaries include SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, the Church of England diocese in France and Age in Spain.

UK Nationals can find the most up to date information on actions they may need to take in the ‘Living in Guide’ for their country at: gov.uk/livingincyprus.

UK Nationals’ rights to continue living in EU member states are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement (and Separation Agreement with EFTA countries), provided they are permanently resident and exercising their treaty/free movement rights by 31 December 2020.

This is not affected by the UK’s ongoing trade negotiation with the EU.

Actions UK Nationals may need to take include:

  • Applying or registering for residency
  • Checking or registering for healthcare
  • Exchanging UK driving licence
  • Checking passport validity

There is no requirement for UK Nationals to register with their local British Embassy and the UK Government does not keep a database of UK Nationals living overseas.

UK State Pensioners will continue to receive their pensions as they do now.