British Citizen Living in Cyprus? Get Ready for Brexit.
European Union leaders have granted the UK another extension to Brexit, setting the new deadline to 31 October 2019.
Although, UK can leave earlier if the UK’s Prime Minister and the Parliament manage to find an agreement.
As we have been receiving several inquiries from UK citizens residing in Cyprus about what they can do to be prepared for Brexit, we’re outlining the procedures to be followed under each possible scenario –
- UK approves the Agreement (Deal Scenario)
- UK does not endorse the Agreement (No-Deal Scenario).
In either case, The British High Commission in Nicosia underlines the importance for UK Nationals and their family members who live in Cyprus, to be registered with the Civil Registry & Migration Department with either a MEU1 (Registration Certificate) or MEU3 (Certificate of Permanent Residency).
The DEAL Brexit Scenario
Securing your Residency in Cyprus before December 31st, 2020
Under the Agreement, the UK nationals who are currently eligible for residence rights along with their family members will be able to stay and continue their lives in Cyprus.
To be legally covered, you should register with either one of the two –
- MEU1 – Registration Certificate
- MEU3 – Permanent Residence Certificate
All UK nationals should secure their residency before December 31, 2020.
If you have any other form of residency (including an old stamp in your passport), this should be changed to either one of the above, by the end of the implementation period, end of December 2020.
MEU1 – Registration Certificate for UE Citizens (Yellow Slip)
Within four months from the entry in Cyprus, a Union citizen and their family members should submit the application for the Residence Certificate (commonly referred to as the Yellow Slip).
Depending on the purpose of residing in Cyprus, different documentation will be requested:
If you are working:
- Valid Passport or Identity card and their copies
- – In case you are Employed – Confirmation of Engagement by the employer or a Certificate of Employment.
– If you are Self-employed – Certificate of Registration to the Social Security Services as self-employed
If you are studying:
- Valid Passport or Identity Card and their copies
- Proof of enrolment to study at a private or public educational institution accredited or financed by Cyprus, including vocational training courses.
- Proof of comprehensive health insurance covering health services in the Republic of Cyprus
- A declaration which states that you have sufficient resources for yourself and your family in order not to become a burden on the social services system of Cyprus
For other activities:
- Proof of adequate income from employment (or another legal source) outside of Cyprus or
- Sufficient deposits in financial institutions local or abroad and
- Proof of comprehensive health insurance in Cyprus.
For the registration of the family members who are also citizens of the UE, the applicants must submit a document attesting to the existence of a family relationship, applicable to the spouse and to all direct dependents under the age of 21.
All documents issued aboard must be translated officially by the Press and Information Office, in case they are not in Greek or English.
An apostille is necessary for documents coming from the countries signatory of the Hague convention of 1961. Otherwise, other procedures need to be followed, which are outlined on the Civil Registry and Migration department here.
According to the Civil Registry and Migration Department, failure to register will result in a financial penalty of up to Euro 2.562,90. In the context of Brexit, it is still unknown if there could be other consequences on top of the monetary penalty, so we suggest you register within the timeline outlined by the regulator.
MEU3 – Permanent Residence for UE Citizens and their family members
UK nationals who have been living in Cyprus for a continuous period of 5 years are eligible to apply for a permanent residence certificate, which will confirm their right to live in the country permanently. Their family members who are not citizens of a Member state will need to apply within one month after the expiration of the validity of the Residence Card, to obtain a Permanent Residence Card.
The validity of the residence card can be affected by absences longer than six months in a year. However, military services, maximum 12 consecutive months of absence for important reasons such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training will not affect the validity of the residence card.
In case of absence of more than two consecutive years, the right of permanent residence will be lost.
You can still enjoy the right of permanent residence even before the completion of the continuous residence for five years if, after three years of continuous employment and residence in Cyprus, you move with your work in another Member State while retaining the place of residence in Cyprus to which you return once a week. This is applicable only to employees or self-employed individuals.
The Civil Registry and Migration Department outline the entire procedure for acquiring MEU3 on their website here.
New Residency Certificate from January 1, 2021
Cyprus authorities will issue a new type of residence certificate which will be in line with the Withdrawal Agreement, protecting the UK nationals’ rights as citizens, even after Brexit.
As of January 1, 2021, at the end of the Transition Period, the holders of MEU1 or MEU3 will follow a simpler procedure than those who do not hold any residence certificate.
Non-holders of current residence documents are therefore encouraged to apply for them as soon as possible so they can benefit from more straightforward procedures.
The NO DEAL Brexit Scenario
However, there is a possibility, that the Agreement will not be ratified by the UK and then the UK will leave the EU on 31 October 2019 without an Agreement (the No Deal-Scenario). In this scenario, the UK citizens will be treated as third-country nationals, both de facto and de jure.
Cyprus Government has expressed its intention to protect the residence rights of UK nationals and their family members, including family members who are third-country nationals and aims to implement the majority of the provisions of the Agreement.
The residence documents under the directive 2004/38/EC (MEU1, MEU3) will continue to be valid until the end of 2020, however, starting 2021, new applications will be required for people covered by the new legislation.
The Cyprus Government intends to put forward a legislative proposal to protect, even in a case of a No Deal Scenario, the residence rights of United Kingdom nationals and their family members, including family members who are third-country nationals, by unilaterally implementing, as far as possible, the provisions of this Agreement. The new law is intended to apply to UK nationals and their family members in accordance with EU rules on free movement.
Are you still concerned about Brexit?
Y. Argyrides & Associates LLC can help you with your Residency Registration, and any other matters related to your Residency in Cyprus.
Contact us for Your Personalized Legal Advice.