Connecticut, US

Jan 17 2019

No-Deal Brexit Plans for UK Nationals Published


The situation

The Estonian government has published plans for the treatment of UK nationals residing in Estonia, to take effect after March 29, 2019 in case of a no-deal Brexit scenario.

A closer look

The published plans include the following details:

  • Transition period. There would be a 24-month transition period commencing on March 29, 2019 for UK nationals to obtain a residence permit card in Estonia. During this period, UK nationals would be able to continue working and staying in Estonia without obtaining a residence card. 
  • New arrivals. UK nationals arriving in Estonia until March 31, 2021 would be able to continue registering as UK nationals. Only those arriving on or after April 1, 2021 would be required to apply for a local permit under the same requirements and process as non-EU nationals.
  • Application only required upon expiry of local identification card. UK nationals holding an Estonian identification card would be required to apply for a local residence card between January 1, 2020 and the expiry date of the identification card. In practice, this means that the transition period can be even longer in individual cases.
  • Non-EU family members. Non-EU family members of UK nationals would similarly be required to change their permit to a local permit type between January 1, 2020 and the expiry date of the identification card.
  • Exemption from residence permit quota. No residence permit quota will apply to UK nationals seeking a local residence permit.
  • Long-term stays. UK nationals residing in Estonia for five years or longer would be able to apply for a permanent residence permit if eligible. Eligibility criteria would be the same as for non-EU applicants.


UK nationals who will continue to work and reside in Estonia past March 29, 2019 should register their stay and obtain a local identification card.

UK nationals should also contact their local immigration offices to see if they are able to register or apply for their proper immigration status prior to Brexit Day.


The plans are a part of the government’s contingency planning in case no Brexit deal is concluded between the European Union and the United Kingdom before March 29, 2019.

Other EU Member States, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Italy have also announced contingency plans.

Looking ahead

The Estonian government would need to pass a law related to these proposals for the rules to be effective. Fragomen will provide updates on the situation as they become available.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].