Now the UK has left the EU, UK nationals already living in EU member states will need to take action to register as residents, so that they can continue to live and work in their chosen country after Britain’s departure from the European Union.
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, along with a number of other partners, is working alongside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to support UK Nationals living in the EU.
The charity is providing support via a team of trained caseworkers, who are based in France, Germany and Cyprus to those veterans who are deemed most at-risk, such as living in care homes, in rural areas, or those without access to computers or the internet. In addition, SSAFA is supporting those with mental health problems, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), to ensure they receive the practical support they need.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the team at SSAFA are continuing to provide guidance and support and are encouraging members of the Armed Forces community to contact SSAFA if they need help.
Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said:
“Now that the UK has left the European Union, UK nationals living in the EU need to complete their residency application; for some this is very daunting. For the last year, SSAFA has been delighted to support the FCDO by reaching out to those serving in the Armed Forces, veterans and their families living in France, Germany and Cyprus to assist with these processes. SSAFA’s partnership with the FCDO continues to the end of 2021. As part of it, I have three specific requests:
Firstly, it has been challenging to locate all those who need additional assistance. We are therefore calling on our Armed Forces community, both serving and retired, together with their network of friends and families, to think if they know anyone who may need our help. If you do, please contact SSAFA directly.
Secondly, we encourage veteran members of the Armed Forces community and their families living in EU states, who have not yet started their residency application to begin this process as soon as possible; it does take time! For those who need extra support, again, please contact SSAFA, either in person or through a family member who can alert us to their predicament.
Finally, we are also working in partnership with other organisations supporting UK nationals across all 27 EU states; if you know of veterans living anywhere in the EU, please signpost them to us in the first instance.”
SSAFA recently supported a 92-year-old SAS veteran who moved to Cyprus almost two decades ago. Arthur* joined up as part of National Service and served in the SAS from 1947 to 1949.
Arthur lives a frugal lifestyle in a caravan on an unregistered campsite, he has no permanent address and was unable to provide utility bills, making his case more complex. Arthur received help from SSAFA in Cyprus to secure the correct documentation he needed to stay in the country.
Tina Graham, Branch Chairman at SSAFA Cyprus, said:
“When Arthur first arrived in Cyprus, he was given an ‘Alien Registration Certificate’. It’s meant to last until 2024, but after Brexit, that will not qualify him to remain. The rules are changing so any British citizen living in Cyprus needs to reapply for either an MEU1 or MEU3 registration document.”
“Without the correct residency documentation, Arthur wouldn’t be able to access the rights he previously had, including access to NHS care. If he left the country, he would only be allowed back for a maximum of three months. I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Tina worked closely with Cyprus Residency Planning Group and the British High Commission to secure Arthur’s residency and healthcare.
If you would like more information or additional support or know anyone that does, please visit https://www.ssafa.org.uk/VIE or call us:
*Client's name has been changed to protect their identity