Brexit is coming to an end. The UK Government has sent thousands of letters to UK nationals abroad in efforts to support them in making a smooth transition.
- One of the largest UK Government direct mail campaigns to UK Nationals living in EU and EFTA member states, with 365,000 customers on Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) database contacted.
- UK Nationals resident before 31 December can continue living and working in Italy but may need to register or apply for residency.
- UK State Pensioners will continue to receive their pensions as they do now.
Rome 24 November 2020 – The UK Government has written to 365,000 UK Nationals living in Europe with advice on the actions they need to take to prepare for the end of the UK transition period on 31 December. This includes 33,475 letters issued to UK nationals in Italy.
The letters, sent to UK State Pensioners and benefit recipients, give advice on how to register for residency and healthcare, exchange driving licences and check new passport validity rules online. It is one of the largest-ever mail outs by the UK Government to UK nationals living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
British Ambassador to Italy Jill Morris said:
“Since 2017, British Embassies across Europe have organised 853 outreach events, with more than 510,000 Brits attending in person or online. We will continue to support them, including through our ongoing public information campaign.”
The UK Government has been running a public information campaign featuring online, radio and newspaper adverts across 30 countries informing UK Nationals of the actions they need to take. This is in addition to the hundreds of town hall meetings, street surgeries and online Q&As run by the UK’s Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates across Europe.
The UK Government has also allocated £3 million for charities and community voluntary organisations across Europe to assist UK Nationals that may need additional help to register or apply to protect their residency rights. This includes potentially at-risk groups, such as pensioners and disabled people and those living in remote areas or who have mobility difficulties. Beneficiaries include SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, the Church of England diocese in France and Age in Spain.
UK Nationals can find the most up to date information on actions they may need to take in the ‘Living in Guide’ for their country at: www.gov.uk/livinginitaly.
Know your rights
1. Citizens’ rights: UK Nationals’ rights to continue living in EU member states are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement (and Separation Agreement with EFTA countries), provided they are permanently resident and exercising their treaty/free movement rights by 31 December 2020. This is not affected by the UK’s ongoing trade negotiation with the EU.
Actions UK Nationals may need to take include:
· Applying or registering for residency
· Checking or registering for healthcare
· Exchanging UK driving licence
· Checking passport validity
2. Contacting UK Nationals: There is no requirement for UK Nationals to register with their local British Embassy and the UK Government does not keep a database of UK Nationals living overseas, however a large number of UK Nationals are Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) customers which enables the UK Government to contact them with information that’s relevant to their circumstances. This mail out to DWP customers, which may include a small number of non-UK Nationals, is intended to supplement a public information campaign operating in all EU and EFTA countries (except Ireland, where these changes do not apply).