For many Brits, retiring to the sunny shores of Spain or Portugal is a rite of passage. Lured in by the low cost of living, temperate climate and established expat communities, it’s easy to see why so many people choose to head abroad to enjoy their retirement years. Unfortunately, for Brits already abroad and those hoping to join them in the coming years, Brexit has cast a dark shadow over their sun-drenched dreams. With the fate of Brits already living abroad and those EEA citizens settled in the UK left in the balance, it remains to be seen how this aspect of the Brexit negotiations will play out.
At the moment, there is no change to the resident status of anyone either living in the UK or throughout Europe, so there isn’t an immediate need to panic. Likewise, anyone hoping to settle in Europe in the next two years is free to do so, although some people are naturally sceptical. Many prominent politicians in the UK and Europe are pushing for the rights of these people to be guaranteed, but with the delicate negotiating progress still to get underway, it’s difficult to know if this will happen any time soon. If you’re hoping to retire to Europe, here are a few things you can do now to prepare.
If you already live in Europe…
For people already settled in Europe, there’s no need to start packing your bags just yet. As there are so many EU citizens living in the UK, it’s in everyone’s interests to secure the rights of these people. The only way this will happen is if the rights of British people living in Europe are also granted resident status after Brexit. However, if you want to be double sure, you might want to see if you’re eligible for citizenship in your country of residence. This will give you dual citizenship, meaning you will be secure no matter the outcome of the negotiations, but you will still get to retain your British citizenship. There has been talk that some expats may face tax hikes, so gaining citizenship will help to avoid this.
If you’re thinking about heading to Europe…
Don’t let Brexit stifle your plans just yet. There are no restrictions on who can live or work in Europe, so you are still welcome throughout Europe. However, with the way things are changing, greater emphasis may be placed on integration and the path to citizenship. Starting language lessons now will pay off down the line and help you quickly get to grips with the new culture.
Keep up to date with the news
For EEA residents hoping to apply for EEA PR, the advice from the home office is to sign up for email updates rather than starting the 85-page application process. Keeping up with the news and the latest developments is a really great idea, as it will ensure that you keep abreast of the changes that might have an impact on you.