The Withdrawal Agreement and Residency Rights in Cyprus
The EU has reached an agreement (the “Withdrawal Agreement”) with the UK in relation to the citizens’ rights pursuant to the UK leaving the EU on 31 January 2020. Through the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU extended the free movement rights of UK nationals and their family members during the transitional period (which started on 01 February 2020 and ends on 31 December 2020). The Withdrawal Agreement is legally binding in all EU member states as of 01 February 2020.
UK nationals and their family members wishing to reside in Cyprus
UK nationals and their family members who already reside in Cyprus or arrive by 31 December 2020, but will not have been continuously residing in Cyprus for five years, will be eligible for temporary residence which will enable them to stay until they complete the necessary five-year period, allowing them to apply for permanent residence.
UK nationals, as well as their family members, who have been residing in Cyprus continuously for five years by 31 December 2020, will be eligible for permanent residence.
UK nationals and their family members who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be able to continue living in Cyprus, having the same access to work, study, benefits and public services that they enjoy now, subject to specific provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.
UK nationals wishing to enter the Republic after the end of the transitional period will be subject to Cyprus Immigration Rules.
Family members of UK nationals covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, who by the end of the transitional period live in a country other than Cyprus, will be granted access to the Republic in order to reside with the relevant UK national(s) at any time in the future and will be able to apply for permanent residence after continuously living in Cyprus for five years. It should be noted that this applies only if the family relationship existed at or prior to 31 December 2020 and will continue to exist after their arrival in Cyprus. These rights will be enjoyed by children, both born or adopted by UK nationals after the transitional period, or spouses, or civil union partners, who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. However, future spouses and partners of UK citizens not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement who intend to enter Cyprus after the transitional period, will be subject to Cyprus Immigration Rules.
It is worth noting that Cyprus has decided that UK nationals and their family members will not have to apply to replace their pre-existing residency documents in order to obtain new residence documents. In light of this, persons who are holders of current residence documents (i.e. MEU1, MEU2 and MEU3) will be able to use these documents in order to prove their residency rights in Cyprus. It is noted that applications filed during the transitional period will be reviewed in accordance with the current free movement rules and if approved, current residence documents will be issued.
After the end of the transitional period, the following persons will have the right to receive, in accordance with the Directive 2004/38/EC, a residence document or a permanent residence document, which will include a statement that this was issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement:
- Persons who are holders of current residence documents (i.e. MEU1, MEU2 and MEU3);
- Persons who will obtain a current residence document within the transitional period;
- Persons who are not holders of current residence documents, but reside in Cyprus before the end of the transitional period and fall within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement; and
- Persons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement who arrive and reside in Cyprus after the end of the transitional period.
It is noted that applications will be examined in accordance with the conditions set out in the Directive 2004/38/EC, as well as, article 18(4) of the Withdrawal Agreement. Such conditions are generally in line with current free movement rules.