Virginia, US

Mar 15 2019

Parliament Approves Amended No-Deal Brexit Plans for UK Nationals

Estonia

The situation

The Estonian parliament has approved legislation detailing the treatment of UK nationals residing in Estonia, to take effect after March 29, 2019 in the case of either a no-deal Brexit scenario or if the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the United Kingdom. The legislation differs from the initial government proposal on a number of points.

A closer look – no-deal scenario

The legislation includes the following details:

  • Automatic residence permit issuance. Eligible UK nationals and their family members would automatically be granted a temporary residence permit valid for up to five years, or a long-term residence permit if already residing in Estonia as long-term residents. The previous government proposal included a 24-month grace period, during which UK nationals would have to apply for a local residence card.
  • Residence card issue date. Eligible UK nationals and their family members would be issued residence cards starting April 1, 2020. Current identity cards and identity cards issued during the deal transition period, remain valid in the interim. The previous government proposal required UK nationals and their family members to apply for a national permit between January 1, 2020 and the expiry date of their current identity card.
  • Local registration required. The arrangements apply to current residents only. UK nationals are urged to complete EU Registration (Elamisõigus) and obtain a local identity card, if not yet completed, to prove their right of residence after Brexit.
  • New arrivals. UK nationals and their family members arriving after March 29, 2019, would immediately be required to obtain a residence permit. UK nationals and their family members will, however, not be subject to the Estonian annual immigration quota. The previous government proposal applied a grace period for new arrivals until March 31, 2021 in a no-deal Brexit scenario as well.

 

A closer look – if Withdrawal Agreement is approved

On March 12, 2019, the UK parliament rejected a Withdrawal Agreement for the second time. However, in the unlikely event that the UK parliament approves the Withdrawal Agreement in the future, Estonia has set out the below plans that would differ from the above no-deal plans:

  • Residence card issue date. Eligible UK nationals and their family members in Estonia would be issued residence cards starting 2021.
  • Local registration required. Estonia’s local registration requirements would apply to UK national Estonian residents arriving in Estonia during the transition period.
  • New arrivals. UK nationals and their family members arriving in Estonia after the end of the transition period would immediately be required to obtain a residence permit.

 

Impact

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.

Background

The legislation is 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.

Many other EU countries have published contingency plans for UK nationals in case of a no-deal Brexit, with more expected soon. Fragomen will provide updates on the situation as they become available.

Looking ahead

Fragomen will provide updates on the situation as they become available.

Please contact a Fragomen immigration professional for assistance in planning contingency arrangements in a single project.

For more information, please visit Fragomen's dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

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 emea@fragomen.com.