Withdrawal Agreement 

The Withdrawal Agreement and what applies now to UK Nationals and their family Members

TEASER:

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, UK nationals who are eligible for residence rights as well as their family members, including family members that are third country nationals, can continue to live, work or study in Cyprus.

The UK exited European Union on the 31st January 2020. After the exit a Withdrawal Agreement was entered into force whereby a transitional period was enforced from 1/2/2020 until 31/12/2020.  During the transitional period, current EU Law on Free movement continued to apply and the residence rights of UK nationals and their family members were subject to the same conditions as those under the EU Law on free movement. UK nationals covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will have the right to take up employment or to carry out economic activity as a self-employed person. They will keep all their workers’ rights based on EU law.

In reference to Article 18(4) of the Withdrawal Agreement, Cyprus has decided that UK nationals and their family members residing in the Republic will not be obligated to apply to replace their pre-existing residency documents, in order to obtain the new residence documents that will be issued in the future.

UK nationals and their family members, who have residence rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, but have not applied for residence documents by the end of the transitional period i.e.31/12/2020, will continue to have the right to apply within a new procedure that was initiated as of 1/1/2021; provided they can submit documentary evidence of their residency prior to the end of the transitional period. Residence documents issued within this new process will include a statement that the document has been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement.

For those UK nationals who are in scope and can provide documentary evidence of their residency in Cyprus prior to the end of the transitional period, there will be no deadline for the submission of residency applications within the new process.

The goal of the Cyprus Government was and still is to protect the residence rights of the UK nationals and their family members, including family members who are third country nationals, by implementing all the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement on Citizens Rights.  UK nationals and their family members, who exercised their right to free movement and arrived to Cyprus with the intention to reside before the withdrawal date and/or until the end of the transitional period, continued to retain the same rights of residence as those under the current EU rules on free movement. In doing so, the Government aims to protect UK citizens and their family members who have already established their life in Cyprus at the time of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, under the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Withdrawal Agreement and what applies now to UK Nationals and their family Members

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK nationals and their family members who have exercised their right under the EU law to move and reside freely in the Republic, before the withdrawal date and/or until the end of the transitional period, have the right of residence, work and free movement and also have the possibility to continue reside in the Republic as before.

The Withdrawal Agreement applies to:

  1. UK nationals and their family members who have already exercised or will exercise their right to reside in Cyprus in accordance with Union law, before the end of the transition period and continue to reside in Cyprus thereafter.
  2. UK nationals and their family members who, at the end of the transitional period, will not be residing in Cyprus but had previously resided in Cyprus, without having acquired permanent residency status, provided that after the end of the transitional period they will maintain continuity of residence as defined in current free movement rules.
  3. UK nationals and their family members who at the end of the transitional period will not be residing in Cyprus, but had previously resided in Cyprus and had acquired the right of permanent residence, provided that their absence will not have exceeded a period exceeding five consecutive years.
  4. Family members residing overseas on 31 December 2020, wishing to join a UK national covered by the Withdrawal Agreement after this date, given that the relationship existed at or before that date and will continue to exist when the person wishes to come to reside in Cyprus.

Transition Period

The Agreement covers the period immediately after the UK leaves the EU, known as the transitional period. This period is enforceable from 1 February 2020 to 31 December 2020. The Agreement extends the current free movement rights to UK nationals and their family members arriving in Cyprus during the transitional period.

How it works for UK nationals

  1. UK nationals and their family members including family members who are non-UK nationals, who have already exercised or will exercise free movement in Cyprus before 1 January 2021 but, until 31 December 2020 will not have completed continuous residence of five years, will be eligible for a temporary residence,
  2. Those who will have completed five years of continuous residence in Cyprus before 31 December 2020, will be eligible to acquire permanent residence,
  3. Those who will not have completed five years of continuous residence in Cyprus, will be able to remain in Cyprus to build-up five years continuous residence. Commencement of this five-year period for both cases starts at the moment of exercising free movement rights, which may be at any time before and during the transitional period.
  4. UK citizens who want to visit Cyprus after the 31 December 2020, end of the transitional period and whose rights do not fall within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement, will need to meet Cyprus immigration rules.

How it works for UK nationals’ family members

  1. Existing family members of UK nationals covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, who are living in a country other than Cyprus on 31 December 2020 (end of the transition period), will be able to reunite in Cyprus with the UK national as a family member at any time in the future. They will then be eligible to qualify for permanent residence, after completing five years of continuous residence.
  2. Children born or adopted after the transition period by UK nationals or their spouse/civil union partner, who are within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement, will enjoy the same rights as pre-existing family members.
  3. Future spouses and partners of UK citizens who are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and wish to come to Cyprus after the 31 December 2020 (end of the transition period), will need to meet Cyprus immigration rules. Before the end of the transition period (1 February – 31 December 2020)

How it worked?

Before the end of the transition period the current free movement rules applied. Upon application, provided that the free movement requirements are met, one of the following current documents are issued:

  1. Certificate of Registration (MEU1) Document certifying residence for European Union citizens and for their family members who are also European Union citizens.
  2. Residence Card (MEU2) Document certifying residence for family members of a European Union citizen who are not nationals of a Member State of the European Union.
  3. Certificate of Permanent Residence (MEU3) Document certifying permanent residence for European Union citizens and for their family members who are also European Union citizens.
  4. Card of Permanent Residence (MEU3)

UK nationals and their family members

  1. Who resided in Cyprus and are holders of the current residence document: Current free movement rules applied.
  2. Who resided in Cyprus and are not holders of a residence document: Current free movement rules applied. Upon application during the transition period, one of the current residence documents (Certificate of Registration, Residence Card or Certificate/Card of Permanent Residence) were issued, provided that the free movement requirements are met.

PLEASE NOTE: After the transition period, UK nationals and their family members who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, will have the right to receive if they choose so, in accordance with the conditions set out in the Directive 2004/38/EC, a new Residence document, which will include a statement that has been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement. Holders of current residence documents (which will continue to be issued up until the end of the transitional period) will fall under a much simpler procedure, should they choose to apply for new residence document provided by the Withdrawal Agreement.

Процедура подачи заявления:

The application procedure for the issuance of current residence documents to UK nationals and their family members remains unchanged during the transitional period. Applications are and will continue to be submitted to the Civil Registry and Migration Department in Nicosia and to the District Units of the Aliens and Immigration Service of the Police.

After the end of the transition period as of 1 January 2021

To make the process as simple as possible, Cyprus has chosen not to obligate UK nationals and their family members residing in its territory in accordance with the conditions set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, article 18(4), to apply for a new residence status as a means of verifying that they are entitled to the residence rights set out in the Withdrawal Agreement.

However, after the end of the transition period:

  1. Holders of current residence documents (MEU1, MEU2, MEU3)
  2. Persons who will receive a current residence document (MEU1, MEU2, MEU3) within the transitional period,
  3. Non-holders of current residence documents, who reside in Cyprus before the end of the transition period and are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and
  4. Persons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement arriving and residing in Cyprus after the end of the transitional period,

will have the right to receive, in accordance with the conditions set out in the Directive 2004/38/EC, a Residence Document or a Permanent Residence Document, which will includes a statement that it has been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement and the article 18(4) of the Agreement .

Residence documents to be issued to UK nationals and family members as of 1.1.2021:

  1. Residence Document (ΜUKW1) for UK nationals and family members who are also UK nationals are valid for five (5) years ;
  2. Residence Document (MUKW2) for non-UK nationals’ family members are valid for five (5) years;
  3. Permanent Residence Document (MUKW3) for UK nationals and family members also UK nationals or for family members who are non-UK nationals are valid for ten (10) years.

Requirements

Applications will be examined in accordance with the conditions set out in the Directive 2004/38/EC and the article 18(4) of the Withdrawal Agreement, which are generally in line with current free movement rules. UK nationals and their family members, will need to file an application, considering that they should not be regarded as a threat to public order, public security or public health.

The main requirement for the Residence Document or the Permanent Residence Document (MUKW1, MUKW2, MUKW3) to be granted will be residence in Cyprus before the end of the transitional period. Specifically:

  1. Where a UK national and their family member have been continuously resident in Cyprus for five years they will be eligible for Permanent Residence. Once acquired, the right of permanent residence shall be lost only through absence from Cyprus for a period exceeding five consecutive years.
  2. Where a UK national and their family member including a non–UK national, who have been continuously resident in Cyprus for less than five years, they will be eligible for temporary Residence. These people will be eligible to apply for the permanent residence, as soon as they have completed five years of continuous residence in Cyprus.
  3. Those persons who were directly related to the UK national who continuously resident in Cyprus before 31 December 2020 and resided outside the country before the end of the transitional period, provided that they can fulfill the conditions set out in point (2) of article 2 of the Directive 2004/38/EC, if the relationship existed at that date and it continues to exist when the person wishes to come to Cyprus.
  4. Children born or legally adopted after the end of the transitional period by a UK national or their spouse/partner who continuously resident in Cyprus before 31 December 2020, or he/she is covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and fulfill the conditions set out in point (2)(c) of article 2 of the Directive 2004/38/EC.

Continuity of residence

Continuity of residence is not affected by temporary absences not exceeding a total of six months a year, or by absences of a longer duration for compulsory military service, or by one absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training, or a posting. Continuity of residence is broken by any expulsion decision duly enforced against the person concerned.

Процедура подачи заявления:

Applications will be submitted to the Civil Registry and Migration Department in Nicosia and to the District Units of the Aliens and Immigration Service of the Police. As of 1.1.2021 UK nationals and family members who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement can also apply through an online platform portal of the Ministry of Interior -Migration Department.

Cyprus is aiming to implement a simple and straightforward application procedure. Most applicants will need only to demonstrate that they are UK nationals or family members of UK national and prove their continuous residence in Cyprus (and that of the UK national if they are a non-UK national family member).

The process will be particularly straightforward for those UK nationals and their family members who are holders of a Certificate of Registration (MEU1), Residence Card (MEU2) or Certificate/Card of Permanent Residence (MEU3). To keep documentary evidence to a minimum, holders of the above residence documents, should they choose to apply for the new Residence Document or for the new Permanent Residence Document (MUKW1, MUKW2, MUKW3), will not need to submit anything else with their application other than a valid passport as proof of identity and their current Certificate of Registration, or their Residence card or their Certificate/Card of Permanent Residence.

Persons who are not holders of a Certificate of Registration, Residence Card or Certificate/Card of Permanent Residence they can submit documentary evidence of their residency prior to the end of the transitional period. Where appropriate, they will be granted a Permanent Residence Document MUKW3, otherwise, where their documentary evidence establishes that they have been continuously residing in Cyprus for a period of less than five years, they will be granted a Residence Document MUKW1, or MUKW2 respectively.

Eligible persons will be able to start applying as of 1 January 2021 either in person at the local Immigration offices and at the CRMD or through online applications on EAS.CRMD.MOI.GOV.CY

An application will involve payment of a required fee of €30. During the online application process the applicant will be asked to present himself at the local Immigration Offices or at the CRMD, for the submission of biometric data in order to finalize the application procedure. Subject to the Withdrawal Agreement provisions, the required fee will not exceed the required fee for applications filed by Cypriot nationals for the issuance of an identity card. Currently these application fees are €30.00.

Applicants who are holders of a valid Certificate of Registration, Residence Card or Certificate/Card of Permanent Residence issued before the end of the transitional period, who wish to exchange their residence documents according the new procedure, will not need to submit any further documents with their applications, apart from a valid passport, as proof of identity and the current residence document in possession. All other applicants will need to submit with their applications, documentary evidence of their residency prior to the transition period in addition to the documents which are generally provided in the current free movement rules and according to the Directive 2004/38/EC.

The EU Commission introduced on 21.2.2020 an implementing Decision in regards to the documents to be issued for UK nationals and family members by all Member States. As a result, a Uniform Format on the Residence documents to be issued to UK nationals and family members who are covered under the Withdrawal Agreement will be implemented and it is based on Council Regulation 1030/2002/EC. According to these procedure, applicants will also need to submit their biometric data (fingerprints for persons over 6 years of age and facial image) and their signature (for persons over 6 years of age), so that a biometric Residence Document will be produced.

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