Living in the EU: Prepare for Brexit

Published 15 October 2019

Foreign & Commonwealth Office


  1. Stay up to date
  2. UK nationals in the EU
  3. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
  4. Ireland

Stay up to date

Get ready for Brexit on 31 October 2019. This page tells you how to prepare and it will be updated if anything changes, including if a deal is agreed.

Go to the living in guides for more about the country you live in, and sign up for email alerts on these guides.

UK nationals in the EU

There will be no change to your rights and status as a UK national living in the EU until after Brexit. You can still workaccess healthcare and collect your pension as you do now.

After Brexit, your rights and how you access services may change depending on where you live. Check the living in guide for your EU country.

Register as a resident

You should register as a resident in the country that you live in. You may not be able to continue living and using services in the EU if you are not a resident. Check the living in guide for your EU country.

Travelling in the EU

After Brexit, you will need at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). If you renewed your current UK passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years will not count towards the 6 months needed.

Find out more about passport rules for travel to Europe after Brexit.

Travelling to the UK

You can travel to the UK at any time. This will not change after Brexit.

Returning to the UK

Your right to return to live, work and access benefits and services, such as healthcare, in the UK will not change after Brexit.

Your close family members will be able to join you in the UK and apply to the EU Settlement Scheme until March 2022 as long as the relationship began before Brexit. New partners and other dependent family members who have lived with you in the EU will be able to join you in the UK until December 2020 and will also be eligible to apply.

Your children’s rights to British citizenship will not change after Brexit.

Healthcare access in the EU

How you access healthcare in the EU may change after Brexit. Find out how you can prepare to access healthcare in the EU after Brexit.

Travel insurance

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may not be valid after Brexit. You need to get travel insurance that covers you for healthcare when visiting another European country.

Prior to travelling, you should make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the travel insurance policy, and that you are content with the level of healthcare and travel disruption cover it provides.

Read guidance on what your travel insurance policy should cover.

State Pension and benefits

The UK government will continue to pay the UK State Pension, child benefits, and disability benefits to eligible UK nationals in the EU. The UK government will also continue to pay an uprated UK State Pension until March 2023 and will use the time to seek arrangements with the EU or EU countries to continue to uprate in the longer term.

Find guidance on benefits and pensions if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

Personal pensions and annuities

Your pension provider should contact you if they need to make changes to your annuity or pension or the way you are paid after Brexit. Contact your pension provider should you have any concerns about their preparedness. If you are unsure whether you have an occupational pension or personal pension, you should contact your provider to check.

Find more about financial services for UK nationals living in the EU or EEA.

Occupational pensions

Your access to your occupational pension should not change after Brexit.

If your pension is paid into a UK bank account, your bank should contact you if they need to make any changes to your product or the way they provide it as a result of Brexit. If you are unsure whether you have an occupation pension or personal pension, you should contact your provider to check.

Continuing education in the EU

After Brexit, studying in the EU and associated fees depends on the requirements of your host country and educational institution. Contact them for advice.

Read guidance for UK nationals studying in the EU.

The government Erasmus+ and ESC underwrite guarantee means funding is available to UK organisations to support their students to continue their Erasmus+ placement in their host EU country. Contact your home university to check if you can continue your Erasmus+ placement in the EU. If you have not already started your placement, you may not be able to study abroad. If you have started, you may not get free healthcare, student finance or benefits.

Read guidance for studying in the EU after Brexit.

Recognising professional qualifications

The European Commission has confirmed that recognition decisions made on qualifications obtained in the UK before Brexit are not affected.

If you obtained your qualifications in the UK or EU before Brexit, contact the relevant national authority to find out if you need to get recognition for them before Brexit.

UK-employed and self-employed workers in the EU

If you are employed or self-employed in the EU and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you’ll continue to pay UK National Insurance contributions until the end date on the form.

If the end date on your form is after Brexit, you should contact the relevant EU authority to confirm whether you need to start paying social security contributions in that country after Brexit, as well as UK National Insurance contributions.

Find out more about social security contributions after a no-deal Brexit.

If you are a UK or Irish national working in Ireland, your position will not change after Brexit. You are covered under the UK-Ireland social security international agreement signed in February 2019, and you won’t need to do anything differently.

Banking, insurance and other financial services

Your provider should contact you if they need to make any changes to your product or the way they provide it. If you have any concerns about whether you might be affected, contact your provider.

Find more information on financial services for UK nationals living in the EU or EEA.

Owning or renting property in the EU

Brexit will not change the rules regarding property ownership, rent, taxation and shared ownership. However, if you are buying a new property some EU countries have different property acquisition laws for EU citizens and non-EU citizens. Check with local authorities how these might apply to you.

Inheritance tax and wills

Wills made under UK law will remain valid after Brexit. This includes wills that apply to property in the EU. Property abroad will continue to be subject to local laws.

Brexit will not change any existing UK rules for inheritance tax.

Double taxation

Brexit will not change the double taxation arrangements which the UK has with all EU countries.

Driving licences

You must exchange your UK driving licence before Brexit for a local one.

Your UK MOT test certificate will not be recognised in the EU after Brexit. You must have your vehicle retested in the EU country you live in.

Find out about driving after Brexit for UK licence holders living in the EU.

Vehicle insurance

You will need to carry a motor insurance green card when driving a UK-registered and insured vehicle in the EU and EEA. Contact your vehicle insurance provider one month before you travel to get green cards for your vehicle, caravan or trailer.

Find out more on insurance for your vehicle or trailer.

Travelling with pets

Travelling with your pet between the EU and the UK will change after Brexit. If you’re living in the EU, contact your vet before travelling to check requirements. Also read the guidance for UK nationals living in the EU on the pet travel to Europe after Brexit page.

Whilst the UK is in the EU, you can take your pet between the UK and the EU under the current pet travel rules using your current EU pet passport.

If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time, you must visit your vet to obtain a pet passport.

Read guidance on returning your cat, dog or ferret to the UK.

Travelling with horses

Consult a vet at least 6 weeks before you plan to move your horse.

For moving pet horses and other equines read guidance on export horses and ponies: special rules.

Travelling with plants

Trading or moving endangered species listed under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) will change after Brexit.

Read about trading and moving endangered animals, plants, and their products.

Voting in elections whilst living overseas

You are entitled to register to vote in UK Parliamentary elections as an overseas voter for up to 15 years after you were last registered to vote in the UK.

After Brexit, UK nationals will no longer be eligible to vote in European Parliament elections.

You may still be able to vote in local elections. Check the guide for the country in which you live.

UK nationals in prison in an EU country

Changes for UK nationals in prison will depend on the approach of each EU country.

Find out about transferring to a UK prison after Brexit.

Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

The EEA EFTA states

The UK has an agreement with the European Economic Area European Free Trade Area (EEA EFTA) states of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to protect citizens’ rights whether or not there is a deal.

Read the EEA EFTA No Deal Citizens’ Rights Agreement.

You should also read the living in guides for:


The government has reached an agreement with Switzerland to protect citizens’ rights whether or not there is a deal.

Read the UK-Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.

You should also read the living in guide for Switzerland.


The current rights of UK and Irish nationals in the Common Travel Area will not be affected by Brexit. View the Common Travel Area guidance.

Read the Living in Ireland guide.