We have secured the right for UK nationals to continue living their life in Cyprus as they do now, new UK High Commissioner in Cyprus Stephen Lillie said in an open letter to UK nationals living on the island, posted on the UK public sector information website on Tuesday, strongly urging those who have not yet done so, to register as residents with the Cypriot authorities, if they wish to continue to live in Cyprus.
Furthermore, he assured that “we will continue to work closely with the Cypriot government to ensure information is provided to UK nationals in a timely manner on any new administrative procedures that may be implemented for British nationals post-Brexit.”
Elaborating on developments regarding the EU-UK negotiations on Brexit, Lillie noted that in December last year the UK and the European Commission reached a comprehensive agreement on reciprocal protection of UK and Union citizens’ rights. “In March this year, the Commission and the UK announced that the commitments made in December had been translated into legal text. We also agreed the terms of a time-limited implementation period until 31 December 2020 which will give you more time to make any preparations. This marks an important step towards finalising the full Withdrawal Agreement,” he added.
Lillie noted that the agreement means that UK nationals living in Cyprus “will be able to carry on living, working or studying in Cyprus for as long as you want to. Your rights to remain in Cyprus will be protected now, during the implementation period and beyond. You will continue to be able to access social security on the same basis as Cypriot citizens living in Cyprus,” he assured
“You will be entitled to have your social security contributions made before and after exit in the UK, or in another member state, count towards a future UK or EU member state pension. Your children will continue to enjoy access to education on the same basis that Cypriot children do,” the UK High Commissioner noted.
Lillie stressed that “we have secured the right for you to continue living your life in Cyprus as you do now,” also noting, among others that “arrangements for travel between the UK and EU beyond 2020 are also being discussed during the second phase of the negotiations.”
He recalled that “up to 31 December 2020 you and your EU family members will continue to be able to travel to the UK as you do now. In some cases where you have resided in an EU member state for at least three months, your non-EU family members may also travel with you to the UK.”
Lillie underlined that “we do not want or expect a no overall deal outcome,” noting that “the UK Government and the Commission have both stated that providing certainty for citizens is a priority. We believe it would be very unlikely for any agreed deal on citizens’ rights to be reopened.”
Noting that the British Government has been clear that “we will leave the European Union in March 2019 and that there will be a time-limited implementation period until 31 December 2020,” Lillie said that “we have agreed with the Commission that you will have a further 6 months after that period (i.e. until 30 June 2021) to make any necessary preparations according to what is required in the final Withdrawal Agreement.”
“If you have not done so already, I would strongly urge you to register as a resident with the Cypriot authorities. All UK nationals who have been residing in Cyprus for more than 90 days and wish to continue to live here should legalise their status by registering,” he noted.
“If you wish to move back to the UK, you and your family members (both EU citizens and in some cases non-EU citizens) will be able to do so until 31 December 2020,” he added, noting that “after that date, the UK Immigration Rules will apply where a family member is not a UK national.”
He went on to say that “the Government will be setting out initial proposals for our future immigration arrangements in due course,” and that “processes for registering children and applying for British passports remain the same. UK nationals are able to travel or return to the UK at any time, including after 31 December 2020.”
Moreover, he noted that “the UK’s exit from the European Union will not change existing double taxation arrangements. Double taxation agreements ensure that any individual (not just a British citizen) who is living in a country which has a treaty with the UK will not pay tax in two countries on the same income/gain and determines which country has primary taxing rights.”
Lillie said that the UK has a double taxation agreement with all EU Member States, which will continue to apply on withdrawal, recalling that a new Double Taxation Agreement was signed by the UK and Cyprus recently.
As regards the validity of UK driving licences in the EU and other Member States’ licences in the UK, he said that it forms part of the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.
Lillie said that he will be holding open meetings with UK nationals living in Cyprus after the summer.