How will Brexit affect Brits living in Norway?

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The United Kingdom (UK) decision to leave the European Union (EU) is creating uncertainty for British citizens and their family members living in Norway.

The UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019. After this date, British citizens will no longer be citizens of the EU. In addition, the UK will no longer be a member of the European Economic Area (EEA).

If both the UK Parliament and the European Parliament approve the Withdrawal Agreement, which sets out a transition or implementation period, the transition period will apply to the EEA Agreement as well. The rules on free movement will remain in effect, and the rights of British citizens and their family members will remain unchanged during this period.

Together with the other EEA/Efta States, Norway has reached an agreement with the UK (the EEA Efta Separation Agreement) that safeguards the rights of British citizens and their family members residing in Norway and ensures equal rights for EEA/Efta citizens residing in the UK. This agreement mirrors the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK that was reached in November 2018. The purpose of the Separation Agreement is to ensure that British citizens who are residing in an EEA/Efta State on 31 December 2020 (i.e. the end of the transition period, after which which the rules on free movement will no longer apply), can continue to reside in EEA/Efta States on terms that are similar to the current terms. 

In order for the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK to enter into force, it must be approved by both the British Parliament and the European Parliament before 29 March 2019. If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved, this Separation Agreement between the EEA/Efta States and the UK will not enter into force either.

The Norwegian Government has been preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU either with or without an agreement. Together with the other EEA/Efta States, Norway has drawn up an agreement with the UK that will enable the authorities to manage a no-deal scenario as of 30 March 2019 (the EEA Efta No Deal Citizens’ Rights Agreement). The consent of the Storting is required for this agreement to enter into force. On 8 February 2019, the Government sent a proposal to the Storting. 

If you are a British citizen or a family member of a British citizen who does not have a registration certificate (for EEA/EU citizens) or a residence card (for third country nationals), and has not yet applied for a certificate/card, please note that you are required to register if you and your family want to stay in Norway for longer than three months.

What will happen if the EU and the UK approve the withdrawal agreement

In order for the Withdrawal Agreement to enter into force, it must be approved by both the British Parliament and the European Parliament.

In December 2018, Norway and the other EEA/Efta States reached an agreement with the UK (the EEA Efta Separation Agreement) on protecting citizens’ rights and resolving separation issues as the UK exits the EU. This agreement mirrors the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK that was reached in November 2018.

If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved, the Separation Agreement between the EEA/Efta States and the UK will not enter into force either.

Part Two of the Separation Agreement between EEA/Efta States and the UK, on citizens´ rights, will enter into force at the end of the transition period, i.e. on 1 January 2021.

Under this agreement, British citizens and their family members who were legally residing in Norway under the Free Movement Directive before 31 December 2020 can continue to live and work in Norway, subject to certain conditions.

The right to family reunification and rights under the current EU/EEA legislation will be upheld for families that are established in Norway by 31 December 2020. These rights will also apply to children born or adopted after the end of the transition period.

British citizens and their family members who want to work/reside in Norway after the end of the transition period (i.e. after 31 December 2020, unless the transition period is extended), will be subject to the same rules as citizens of countries outside the EEA/EU (third country nationals).

What will happen if the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement?

If the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK is not approved, the Separation Agreement between the EEA/Efta States and the UK will not enter into force either.

The Norwegian Government has been preparing for the UK leaving the EU either with or without an agreement. The aim has been to safeguard the rights of British citizens and their family members who are residing legally in Norway.

In February 2019, Norway and the other EEA/Efta States reached an agreement with the UK that will safeguard citizens’ rights in a no-deal scenario (the EEA Efta No Deal Citizens’ Rights Agreement). This agreement ensures the right to work and reside for British citizens and their family members who are entitled to reside and work in Norway as of 29 March 2019.

The right to family reunification under the current EU/EEA legislation will be upheld for families that are established in Norway by 29 March 2019. This right will also apply to children born or adopted after 29 March 2019.

Read more about the No Deal Citizens’ Rights Agreement between the EEA/Efta States and the UK.

The EU rules on protection against expulsion under the Free Movement Directive will apply to anyone who has committed a crime before 29 March 2019. For people who commit a crime after this date, the general provisions of Norwegian Immigration Act will apply.

What can you do at this stage?

If you are a British citizen, or a family member of a British citizen, and are residing legally in Norway at the time of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (currently fixed for 29 March 2019) you will be able to continue to work and reside in Norway without having to take any additional steps at this point. This will continue to be the case until new procedures are introduced.

Legal residence is regulated by the Immigration Act (see chapter 13 of the Immigration Act) .

You are a legal resident in Norway if, by the date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, you have:

  • a registration certificate (for EEA/EU citizens) or a residence card (for family members who are third country nationals), issued in accordance with the EU Free Movement Directive.
  • a permanent right of residence, or if you qualify for a permanent right of residence as of 29 March 2019.
  • a permanent residence permit (or a permanent settlement permit issued under previous immigration legislation)
  • a residence permit issued under other rules, e.g. as a skilled worker.

You are also a legal resident if you qualify for residence under the Free Movement Directive, but have not yet have applied.

British citizens who have a permanent residence permit, or a permanent settlement permit issued under previous legislation, will not lose this permit unless they have resided outside Norway for more than two consecutive years. British citizens who have a residence/settlement permit and a Norwegian national identity number (11-digit personal identifier) will in principle be considered to have proof of legal residence in Norway.

When new legislation enters into force, a deadline will be set for submitting applications for residence permits under the new rules.

British citizens who come to Norway after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in a no-deal scenario

British citizens and their family members who want to work and/or reside in Norway after 29 March 2019 will have to follow the rules that apply to citizens of countries outside the EEA/EU (third country nationals).


Q & A – A “No deal”-scenario

Here you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions about your rights in a no-deal scenario. The answers are based on the agreement that has been reached between the EEA/Efta States and the UK that will enable the authorities to manage a no-deal scenario as of 30 March 2019 ( the EEA Efta No Deal Citizens’ Rights Agreemen).

1) I have a permanent right of residence in Norway. What will my status be after 29 March 2019? Will I have to apply for a new residence permit in a no-deal scenario? 

If you are a British citizen with a permanent right of residence in Norway under the rules on free movement as of 29 March 2019, you will not have to apply again. You will still have a permanent right of residence in Norway after 29 March 2019 under the agreement.

2) Will I be able to stay in Norway if I don’t have a permanent right of residence as of 29 March 2019?

Yes. If you are a British citizen with a right of residence in Norway as of 29 March 2019, but are not yet entitled to a permanent right of residence (after 5 years), you will still have the right to reside in Norway.

3) I was issued with a permanent residence permit many years ago, and do not have a registration certificate or a residence card. How can I prove that I am a legal resident in Norway?

British citizens who have a permanent residence permit or a permanent settlement permit issued under previous immigration legislation will not lose their right to residence even though they do not have a registration certificate/residence card, unless they have resided outside Norway for more than two consecutive years. British citizens who have a residence/settlement permit and a Norwegian national identity number (11-digit personal identifier) will in principle be considered to have proof of legal residence in Norway.

4) Will I have to meet new requirements in order to continue living in Norway?

No. If you are a British citizen with a right to residence in Norway as of 29 March 2019, you will not need to meet any new requirements in order to retain your right of residence. However, you may be required to apply for a residence permit and residence card once new legislation has entered into force.

If you do not have a registration certificate (for EEA/EU citizens), a residence card (for family members who are third country nationals), or a permanent residence permit (or a permanent settlement permit), you will have to document that you moved to Norway before 29 March 2019 and that you qualify for residence under the EU Free Movement Directive (Directive 2004/38/EC 2004).

5) Will my spouse be able move to Norway after Brexit?

Under the EEA Efta No Deal Citizens’ Rights Agreement between EEA/Efta States and the UK, the spouse of a British citizen residing in Norway will still be able to apply for family reunification after 29 March 2019 under the current rules for EU/EEA citizens, provided that you were married before 29 March 2019.

6) I am a British citizen residing in Norway with my spouse. We are planning to have a child. If our child isn’t born before Brexit, will he/she be entitled to residence in Norway together with my spouse and me? 

Yes, children who are born or adopted after 29 March 2019 will also be covered by the No Deal Citizens’ Rights Agreement.

7) Will I still be able to reside and take up work in other EU/EEA States?

The right of free movement for British citizens will end on 29 March 2019. The right of residence and employment in other EU/EEA States will depend on the rules in these States and on their future relationship with the UK.

8) I am a British citizen who is entitled to reside in Norway. Will I have to apply for a visa in order to travel to other countries in the EU/EEA after 29 March 2019? 

A proposed amendment to the EU Visa Code to allow for visa-free travel for British citizens within the EU/EEA is currently being discussed in the European Council. If the proposal is adopted, you will not be required to apply for a visa before travelling in the EU/EEA after the UK has left the EU (this also applies to travel in the Schengen Area).

9) I am a British citizen living and working in Norway. Will I still be a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme after 29 March 2019?

As a general rule, anyone who is legally residing or working in Norway is automatically a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, regardless of their nationality. So as long as you have a legal right to reside and/or work in Norway, you will continue to be a member of the National Insurance Scheme after 29 March 2019.

10) I live in Norway and receive benefits from the UK. Will I continue to receive these benefits after 29 March 2019? 

Provided you reside in Norway and are subject to either Norwegian or British social security legislation as of 29 March 2019, you will, as a general rule, continue to receive the social security benefits that you were entitled to before 29 March 2019. The British social security authorities will be able to provide more detailed information about your situation.

11) I live in the UK and receive benefits from Norway. Will I continue to receive these benefits after 29 March 2019?

Provided you reside in the UK and are subject to either British or Norwegian social security legislation as of 29 March 2019, you will, as a general rule, continue to receive the social security benefits that you were entitled to before 29 March 2019. You can contact the Norwegian Welfare and Labour Administration (NAV) for more information. The British social security authorities will also be able to provide more detailed information about your situation.

Questions about Norwegian citizenship

The processing of applications for Norwegian citizenship for British citizens will not be affected by Brexit.

The UDI (Directorate of Immigration) processes applications for Norwegian citizenship in the order in which they are received. There will be no special priority scheme for current or new applications from British citizens in connection with Brexit.

You can check the average processing time for applications for Norwegian citizenship on the UDI website.

On 6 December 2018, the Storting adopted a resolution allowing dual citizenship for everyone who wants to become a Norwegian citizen. This means that you will no longer have to renounce your current citizenship in order to become a Norwegian citizen. The new rules will come into force in 2020. Until then, the current rules for dual citizenship still apply.

 

Norwegian Government

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