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19 Sep 2019
British expats in Cyprus given an extra year to apply for residence permits

Britons living in Cyprus have been given a grace period until December 31, 2020 to apply for legal status on the island in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the government announced on Wednesday.

“In the case of a NO deal Brexit, UK nationals and their family members who have resided in Cyprus prior to October 31, 2019, retain the right to continue to submit applications for MEU1, MEU2, and MEU3 after this date and obtain the relevant residence permits until December 31, 2020,” an announcement posted on the website of the migration department said.

There are three main residency statuses that British expats are entitled to: an MEU1 (registration for residents living in Cyprus for more than three months) and the MEU3 (for residents who have lived in Cyprus for more than five years). The MEU 2 is for family members who are not EU citizens. Residents who have lived in Cyprus for more than seven years can apply for citizenship.

Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal and this was the original deadline for applying for residence permits.

In July this year, the Cyprus parliament unanimously passed legislation regulating the right of UK nationals and their families to move and reside freely in the Republic of Cyprus in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The law establishes the legislative framework for the safeguarding of the right of UK nationals, including citizens of Northern Ireland, to remain or who to choose to reside on the Republic of Cyprus should the UK leave the European Union without a withdrawal agreement.

The purpose of the law is to institutionalise the procedure whereby UK nationals can obtain residence documents.

A reciprocity principle was included for the implementation of the law, which would mean that should a no-deal Brexit come about and the cabinet can move to implement the legislation, they should take into consideration whether similar measures are taken by the UK government for the benefit of Cypriot nationals.

Earlier on Wednesday, responding to a question from the Cyprus News Agency, about the post-Brexit future of Cypriot nationals living in the UK, a spokesperson for the UK Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) said: “We have made an unequivocal guarantee to the 30,000 Cypriot nationals living and working in the UK. They will have absolute legal certainty of the rights to work, study and access benefits and services on the same basis as now under any Brexit scenario.

“We welcome Cyprus’ pledge to protect the rights of UK nationals living in Cyprus before exit day. Other member states should follow Cyprus` lead and do all they can to protect UK nationals living in the EU,” the spokesperson added.

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