UK CITIZENS

Whether it is for a short visit or for a desire to live in Greece for longer periods of time, Brexit will have consequences on the rights of British nationals and the formalities they will need to follow to stay in Greece permanently.

 

Law 4604/2019 – Residence rights of UK citizens in Greece

On 19 March 2019, the Hellenic Parliament approved Law 4604/2019(published in the Official Government Gazette/ΦΕΚ’ 50/A/26-3-2019) which guarantees, in articles 123, 124, 125, 127 and 128, UK citizens’ rights in Greece after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

The law includes provisions both for the case of ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, as well as for the case of a no deal scenario. It settles the future status of British nationals and their family members already living in Greece, according to existing EU and national rules and offers them continued right to stay and work in the country.

The law confirms that upon ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, the rights of UK citizens and their family members already living in EU countries, including Greece, will be fully protected, according to Part II of the Agreement and relevant provisions thereof. Their rights will also be fully protected during the transition/implementation period (from withdrawal date until the end of 2020), as provided for in Part III of the Withdrawal Agreement.

In case of no deal, the law provides for a grace period, from withdrawal date until 31 December 2020, during which:

  • UK citizens and their family members legally residing in Greece before the withdrawal date (holders of a Registration Certificate or a Permanent Residence Document) will be able to continue to stay, work and study under the same conditions (Free Movement Directive) and with the same rights as prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU
  • UK citizens and their family members settled in Greece prior to withdrawal date but without having been registered, will enjoy a grace period, from withdrawal date until the 31 December 2020, during which they will have the opportunity to register and stay in the country, according to the rules in force before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (Free Movement Directive)
  • UK citizens and their family members entering the country and wishing to stay in Greece after the withdrawal date, will also enjoy a grace period, from withdrawal date until the 31 December 2020, during which they will have the opportunity to register and stay, also according to the rules in force before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Law 4604/2019 does not preclude the adoption of additional or more favorable measures in case of no deal (for UK citizens’ residence, social security and healthcare), but this will depend on further EU decisions as well as on reciprocity by the United Kingdom.