Post-Brexit: EU law derived rights for family members of settled UK citizens

10th September 2021

For private clients, Citizenship and Immigration

Are you a family member of UK citizens holding an EU residence permit in a country in the EU? Do you wish to reside in an EU Member State but are concerned that this would be impossible after the end of the Transition Period (TP)? We outline some of the options you may have now that the UK is no longer part of the EU.

Pursuant to the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement (WA), family members of UK citizens who have held a valid EU residence permit before the end of the transition period and still hold it (Resident UK Nationals) may benefit from residence rights as EU citizens after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, provided that they meet certain requirements as below.

Now, the first point to note is that EEA citizens (at the time of writing in September 2021 this no longer includes British citizens) can live and work in any EU Member State without a visa. Broadly similar rights are extended under EU law to the non-EEA family members of EEA citizens.

UK citizens in general are no longer given this special treatment. However, under the WA, various rights were preserved for UK nationals in the EU and to some such UK nationals’ family members, even if they are neither EEA nationals, nor UK nationals.

The following categories of family members of Resident UK Nationals (Privileged Applicants) are not required to apply for a visa in order to enter and subsequently reside in Bulgaria: 

  • The Privileged Applicant resided in Bulgaria before the end of the TP and continues to reside there after; or
  • The Privileged Applicant is directly related to the Resident UK National. While the Privileged Applicant resided outside of Bulgaria before the end of the TP, they qualify for a Bulgarian permit if they were additionally:
    • The spouse of the pre-TP Resident UK National; or
    • Under the age of 21 and the direct descendant of the Resident UK National, which includes both biological and adopted children; or
    • A direct relative of the Resident UK National over the age of 21 and financially dependent on him/her.

If you think you fall within one of these categories and need assistance with the permit procedure or if you are simply not sure how these rules might be applicable to you, our experienced team of immigration lawyers at New Balkans Law Office can answer your questions and guide you. We pay attention to all relevant details and offer legal advice tailored to your needs and budget, and will be thrilled to help you.

Please contact us at: [email protected]

© New Balkans Law Office 2021

The Bulgarian and dual-qualified lawyers of New Balkans Law Office are regulated by the respective Bar of their registration. New Balkans Law Office is a brand name of Legal Services EOOD, a company registered under Bulgarian law. Reg’d No. 202331677. Further details are available here.

© New Balkans Law Office 2021