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Key Points
  • The government has provided further guidance for UK nationals on obtaining a work or residence permit post-Brexit
  • UK nationals will be invited to apply for a new residence permit before December 31, 2021, if they were legal residents before the Brexit transition
  • Family members of non-EU UK nationals will also be invited to apply for a new residence permit
  • UK nationals who have resided in Belgium for over five years may apply for an M-Card
  • Cross-border workers who had legal work rights in Belgium before the Brexit transition may continue working in the country
  • Cross-border workers can apply for an N-Card when applications open

The Belgian government has provided more details for UK nationals on obtaining a new work or residency permit following the Brexit transition.

What are the Changes?

The new guidance applies to UK nationals who were legally living or working in Belgium before December 31, 2020. Under the new rules, workers may continue to perform activities in Belgium and UK nationals may continue to reside in the country if they can prove their work or residency rights prior to the Brexit transition.

UK nationals in Belgium may apply for a new residency permit between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021. Applicants will be invited to apply for a residency permit. They must have a prescheduled in-person appointment to apply at the town hall of their residency, or at the town hall where they work if they are cross-border workers. Applicants must submit proof of their EU residence registration to demonstrate that they were residents before December 31, 2020. Alternatively, they can provide proof of self-employment, education, or independent means to demonstrate residency rights before the Brexit transition. Applicants will receive an Article 50 permit application confirmation with a three-month validity to verify that they have applied for residency. The certificate may be extended if necessary. UK nationals who have lived in the country for at least five years may apply for a 10-year residence card (M-Card) if eligible. Otherwise, they can continue accruing time towards permanent residency in 2021.

Non-EU family members of UK nationals who have a current Belgian residence permit will also be invited to apply for a new residence permit by December 31, 2021.

What Should Employers and Applicants Know?

New information is also available for cross-border workers. Cross-border workers with established status before December 31, 2020, may continue to perform the same activities in 2021, but they should apply for a five-year renewable N-Card instead. Cross-border workers who do not have Annex 15 must demonstrate their eligibility to work in the country under the Withdrawal Agreement before the Brexit transition. Posted workers who qualified for residency or held posted worker status before December 31, 2020, must apply for either an M-Card or an N-Card when available.

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