The government has decided to submit a draft act to the Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament) for further proceedings in order to guarantee rights to the citizens of the United Kingdom in accordance with the European Union withdrawal agreement.
Under the amended Citizen of European Union Act, the rights of European Union citizens will continue to apply to the citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members until the end of 2010. Without amendments to the act, from 30 March 2019, the citizens of the United Kingdom would become third-country nationals within the meaning of Estonian law.
After the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 29 March 2019, there will be a transition period until the end of 2020. “We would like to make the transition as easy and bureaucracy-free as possible for the citizens of the United Kingdom who live in Estonia,” said Katri Raik, the Minister of the Interior. “So, European Union law will generally continue to apply to the citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members until the end of the transition period. Citizens of the United Kingdom will be able to stay Estonian residents on the basis of their currently valid ID cards until the documents expire,” the minister added. Their family members who are third-country nationals will be able to stay in Estonia on the basis of the right of residence applicable so far. The Police and Border Guard Board plans to start issuing residence permit cards, which will become new documents certifying one’s right of residence in Estonia, in 2021.
Starting in April 2021, the Aliens Act will apply to citizens of the United Kingdom arriving in Estonia, and they will have to apply with the Police and Border Guard Board for a residence permit similarly to other third-country nationals. In the future, the United Kingdom will be treated in the same way as the United States and Japan, with no immigration quota applicable to the citizens of these countries in Estonia.
The Ministry of the Interior has the competence to address the issues which pertain to the settlement of the United Kingdom citizens and their family members for residence in Estonia and their personal identification documents in Estonia.
Additional information is available in the subsection on Brexit on the web page of the Ministry of the Interior.