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OPINION

Brexit: Residence Rights of UK Nationals in Cyprus

Brexit: Residence Rights of UK Nationals in Cyprus

On 23 June 2016, the majority of the UK's electorate voted to leave the European Union.  As a result "Brexit" is expected to become effective on 29 March 2019 after the negotiations on the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement between EU and UK are finalised. In Cyprus, in September 2018, the Civil Registry and Migration Department, issued a detailed informative document explaining how Cyprus intends to practically implement the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement between EU and UK, concerning residence rights of UK nationals and their family members, in view of the UK leaving the EU.  

This withdrawal Agreement will protect the UK nationals and their families who have already exercised or will exercise their free movement rights in Cyprus before the transition period, which starts on 30 March 2019 and lasts until 31 December 2020.  Before the end of the transition period, no action has to be taken, since current free movement rules apply, even if the UK nationals and their families, who reside in Cyprus are not holders of any residence document. However, upon application, one of the current residence documents (ME01, ME02, ME03), can be issued if requirements are met.  In addition, it has to be mentioned that family members residing overseas on 31 December 2020 and wish to join a UK national covered by the Withdrawal Agreement after this date, given that the relationship existed at or before that date and it continues to exist when the person wishes to come to Cyprus, then they are also covered by this Agreement.

After the end of the transition period, holders of current residence documents, also known as ‘yellow slips’, will receive a current residence document within the transition period. Non-holders of current residence documents who reside in Cyprus and are covered by the withdrawal Agreement and persons covered by the withdrawal Agreement arriving and residing in Cyprus after the end of the transition period, will have the right to receive if they wish to, a new residence document, which will include a statement that it has been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement.

In other words, holders of residence documents may not apply for the new residence document since this is not mandatory, however after the transition period, only the new residence document will be issued for non-holders of a current permit and who are covered by the withdrawal Agreement.

The Cypriot Government is aiming to implement a simple and straight forward procedure for the issuance of the new residence document. The process will be particularly straight forward for those UK nationals and their family members who are holders of a certificate of Registration, Residence Card or Certificate/Card of Permanent Residence. Holders of these documents should they choose to apply for the new residence document, will not need to submit anything else with their application other than a valid passport as proof of identity.

Persons who are not holders of any of the aforementioned residence documents, will be able to submit documentary evidence of their residence e.g. rental agreement or property sale contract, utility bills, bank statements or, any other documents proving these persons have already exercised their free movement rights in order to reside in Cyprus prior the transition period. Consequently, non-holders of current residence documents are encouraged to apply for them as soon as possible in order to avoid potential delays or issues during the submission of their application.

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