BREXIT: End of free movement on 31 December 2020

For the continuation of residence in the Netherlands, UK nationals (and family members) may still need to take some actions before the end of this year.

On 31 January 2020 the United Kingdom officially left the European Union with an approved Withdrawal Agreement. The transition period entered into force as from 1 February 2020 up to and including 31 December 2020. During this period the EU law still applies to UK nationals (and family members) residing in the Netherlands, which means that UK nationals (and family members) can continue to live, work and study in the Netherlands.

After 31 December 2020 a valid passport from an UK national (and family members) will not suffice anymore to continue their residency in the Netherlands.

As we are moving forward to the end of the transition period, there are new rules in place for the UK nationals (and family members) who already want to secure their residency in the Netherlands.

There are two types of Withdrawal Agreement residence documents, based on the situation per 31 December 2020 the UK national (and family members) can apply for one of those residence documents:

+ Temporary residence permit – if the UK national has been living less than 5 years in the Netherlands
+ Permanent residence permit – if the UK national has been living for more than 5 years in the Netherlands

For continuation of residency in the Netherlands, the Dutch immigration office strongly recommends to apply for a residence document before 31 December 2020 (but if not possible, applying is possible until 30 June 2021 at the latest).

Cross border work

In case the UK national is currently living outside the Netherlands, but is employed or self-employed in the Netherlands, he/she is considered to be a frontier worker (cross-border commuter). The UK national can apply for a frontier worker’s document under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Moving to the Netherlands after 31 December

Please note that when the UK national is moving to the Netherlands after 31 December they will not be eligible to apply for residency under the Withdrawal Agreement anymore as they will not be considered as an EU citizen anymore. The UK national (and family members) can apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands for a particular residence purpose, for example family, study or work. To do this, the UK national must meet the conditions for residence for citizens from outside the EU / EEA or Switzerland.

If the UK national has been living in the Netherlands already before 31 December 2020, and family members living abroad will be joining the UK national after 31 December 2020, they can apply for family reunification. Family reunification is possible under the Withdrawal Agreement. Possibly the family members will first need to apply for a visa to travel to the Netherlands. This will however depend on what will be agreed between the EU and UK in the near future.

Should you have any questions, please contact:

Brenda Jongman
Senior Immigration Specialist

Claudia de Jager
Senior Immigration Specialist

Anique Borchert
Senior Immigration Specialist


To read more immigration updates, click here

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