Brexit update 

15 February 2019

UK citizens living in the Netherlands

Where are we now? 

On 23 June 2016 the United Kingdom held a referendum about the UK’s membership of the EU. Based on the outcome of this referendum the UK invoked article 50, signalling its intention to leave the EU, on 29 March 2017. Because of this the UK will leave the EU no later then 30 March 2019, 0:00 (29 March 2019, 23:00 in the UK). The UK and the EU concluded an agreement establishing how the UK would leave the EU and how the process would go, including a transition period starting immediately after the leave date (this agreement is known as “the deal”). Both the EU and the UK parliament will have to approve the deal before it comes in to force.  As of today the UK parliament has not approved the deal.

What does that mean?

The UK will leave the EU at the end of the day on 29 March 2019 unless the UK and all EU countries agree to postpone the UK’s departure. Currently a postponement seems highly unlikely. That means that there are two possible ways the UK will leave the EU: with or without an agreement with the EU. In case of no agreement (the no-deal scenario) all agreements between the UK and EU will cease to exist and the UK will become a so-called third country (a country outside of the EU) and the EU relationship with the UK will become similar to that with any other country outside of the EU. It is important to note that the EU has (trade) deals with most third countries, but (currently) not with the UK. This is because the negotiations for these (trade) deals were expected to happen during the transition period that was set to end on 31 December 2020. Below we will discuss the impact on UK citizens in the Netherlands both in case of a deal and a no-deal scenario. 

In case of a deal

In case of a deal, initially nothing will really change as the UK would leave the EU but at the same time, the transition period would start. During the transition period EU law related to the free movement of EU citizens (and UK citizens) will still apply. As previously mentioned, the transition period is expected to end on 31 December 2020.  

In case of no-deal

UK citizens who have arrived before or on 29 March 2019

In the week of 14 January 2019 the Dutch Immigration Authorities (IND) sent out a letter to all UK citizens to inform them on their rights of residence in the Netherlands after Brexit. 

The letter has been sent to all UK Citizens and their family members who are registered in the BRP.  All UK citizens that are currently in the Netherlands under EU law will be able to stay. They will receive a letter that will act as a temporary residence permit during the coming weeks. The IND will start to invite groups of UK 

citizens to apply for a residence permit. The requirements for this residence permit will be the same as the current requirements for EU citizens. 

UK citizens who arrive after 29 March 2019

A lot is still unclear here, but the most likely situation for UK citizens arriving in the Netherlands on or after 29 March 2019 will be as third country nationals. The Dutch government has said that their intention is that UK citizens would not need an entrance visa to be able to apply for a residence permit. This would mean that they would have to comply with the rules that also apply for Americans, Canadians and Australians, among others. The final decision here also depends on the other EU countries as Schengen rules are a factor to be considered as well. 

What can UK citizens in the Netherlands do?

Registering at the correct address

In both a deal and a no-deal situation there are some actions that UK citizens can take now. 

Most importantly we strongly urge all UK citizens to log-in to and verify their personal details. On this website, it is possible to view personal details as they are registered in the BRP. If the address details are not correct, please contact your municipality to find out what options are available to you. If you are planning to move please do not forgot to inform your local municipality of your change of address. 

Especially those who did not receive the letter from the IND will need to ensure their address details are updated and correct as soon as possible.

Exchanging of driver’s license

The other step that UK citizens can take is exchanging their UK drivers licence to a Dutch one. Currently this can still be done in the same way as any other EU drivers licence. If a hard Brexit (no deal scenario) does occur then additional requirements might be implemented and holders of a UK licence that have been registered in the Netherlands for 185 days or more will no longer be able to drive with their UK licence. As it stands now it is still possible to exchange a UK licence without a theory and practical test during the transition period, as long as the UK citizen was registered in the BRP before the UK left the EU. 

Please contact your municipality to get information about the exact process and requirements. It is possible that you are not allowed to drive after you have applied for a Dutch drivers licence and before you receive the hard copy.