On 29 March 2017 the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) informed the European Council of its intention to leave the European Union (EU). The United Kingdom will leave the EU on 31 January 2020 the latest. Until leaving the UK remains a Member State of the EU, and all rights and obligations arising from that remain in force.
On 25 November 2018 the heads of the EU Member States held a special meeting of the European Council, at which they reached an agreement regarding exit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union. As it is still not yet clear whether the United Kingdom will leave the EU on the basis of a withdrawal agreement or without an agreement, we provide a solution for both cases in order to ensure the citizens of the United Kingdom residing in Estonia as smooth transition as possible.
The Ministry of the Interior is in charge of issues concerning citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members who wish to settle in Estonia, as well as their personal identification documents in Estonia.
Questions and answers
Here you can find the rights of EU27 and UK citizens post-Brexit, as outlined in the Joint Report from the Negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government.
What will change for citizens of the United Kingdom who are presently residing in Estonia if Brexit takes place on the basis of a withdrawal agreement?
According to the United Kingdom withdrawal agreement, after the United Kingdom leaves the EU, the transition period will start. The transition period will last until 31 December 2020.
Until the end of the transition period the law of the European Union will generally remain applicable to citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members.
Citizens residing in Estonia will be able to continue to reside here on the basis of a valid ID card until the expiry of their documents. Family members of UK citizens who are citizens of third states will be able to stay in Estonia on the basis of their current residence permit.
Citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members who reside in Estonia or arrive in Estonia before the end of the transition period will not have to apply for a new document resulting from the withdrawal agreement. We plan to start issuing a new document certifying the right of residence in Estonia due to the withdrawal agreement from the beginning of 2021.
What will change for Estonian individuals with undefined citizenship who are presently residing in the United Kingdom?
The withdrawal agreement protects and applies to those individuals who are residing in the United Kingdom according to the terms related to free movement within the European Union. In the United Kingdom Estonian individuals with undefined citizenship presently have a status of citizens of a third state, and in the future their status will remain the same.
Their residence in the country before and after Brexit is and will be regulated by the domestic law of the United Kingdom, and the withdrawal agreement generally does not apply to such individuals.
Citizens of third states are regulated in the withdrawal agreement if such individual is a family member of an EU Member State citizen who is residing together with such EU Member State citizen in the United Kingdom at the time of its withdrawal and at the end of the transition period. The withdrawal agreement also protects spouses who are citizens of a third state and who are married to an EU Member State citizen, if such EU Member State citizen is residing in the United Kingdom and the marriage was entered into before the end of the transition period. Therefore, a spouse who is a citizen of a third state will continue to be able to join his or her partner who is an EU Member State citizen residing in the United Kingdom. Such protection does not apply to such marriages of EU Member State citizens entered into after the end of the transition period, and in the future they will be able to join their spouse on the basis of the domestic law of the United Kingdom.
In the future descendants of citizens of the Member States will be able to join their parent residing in the United Kingdom according to the terms stated in the withdrawal agreement, and they will not necessarily have to be residing in the United Kingdom during Brexit.