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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: If Britons are already resident in one EU country, can they move to another?

As British nationals face new rules on moving to EU and Schengen countries, readers are asking if already having residency in one EU member state allows them to move freely to another.

Reader question: If Britons are already resident in one EU country, can they move to another?
If you already call a European country home, how are your rights affected after Brexit? Photo: AFP
Question: I now have residency status in Italy, but I was wondering, does that allow me free movement within Europe or am I still bound by the conditions for all UK citizens?

This question is one of several similar queries The Local has received recently, as British nationals get to grips with new restrictions on travel and life in Europe.

EU membership and freedom of movement had previously allowed Britons to move abroad to live, work, and retire without the need for visas.

This had also allowed British nationals to then move freely from one EU member state to another.

But that is no longer the case, after British PM Boris Johnson and his government decided to end freedom of movement, including onward from one EU country to another.

Simply put, this means a British national wanting to move from one EU country to another would now need to apply for a long-stay or residency visa – in exactly the same way as if they were moving from the UK to the EU for the first time.

This is because rules are based on your citizenship, rather than on the country you have residency in.

So moving from one EU country to another, while still possible, is now more complicated.

READER QUESTION: Can Brits stay more than 90 days in the EU if they have a spouse with an EU passport?

For example, a British citizen now resident in France would not be able to move to Germany without going through the process for visas, because the freedom they used to leave the UK in the first place has ended.

Each EU country will have its own requirements for new residents. Italy, for example, has from January 1st 2021 introduced a new long-stay visa for British nationals hoping to move to the country.

No visa will be needed to stay in the EU or the wider Schengen zone for under 90 days in every 180 day period, but anyone planning a longer stay, or to do paid work, will have to apply for one.

Member comments

  1. Why would you want to leave Asti? For those who live elsewhere, the church is San Secondo, where (in normal times) I sing in one of the choirs.

  2. If a Brit has residency in France, for example, does that mean the 90 day limit for visiting other EU countries has already been used up ?

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For members

BANKING

Banking giant Barclays to close all accounts of Brits living in Spain

UK nationals living in Spain have begun to receive letters from their bank telling them that their accounts will be closed, in an apparent post-Brexit change. Have you been affected?

Banking giant Barclays to close all accounts of Brits living in Spain

Customers of Barclays Bank who are living in Spain and other EU countries have been receiving letters telling them that their UK accounts will be closed by the end of the year. 

A number of readers of The Local’s network of news websites have contacted us to report receiving either letters or messages in their online banking telling them that their accounts would be closed because of their residency in Spain or in other countries in the EU.

A Barclays spokesperson told The Local: “As a ring fenced bank, our Barclays UK products are designed for customers within the UK.

“We will no longer be offering services to personal current account or savings customers (excluding ISAs) within the European Economic Area. We are contacting impacted customers to give them advance notice of this decision and outline the next steps they need to take.”  

Customers are being given six months to make alternative arrangements. The changes affect all personal current accounts or savings accounts, but do not affect ISAs, loans or mortgages.

During the Brexit transition period Barclays closed Barclaycard accounts of customers in Spain, but did not indicate any changes to standard bank accounts.

READ MORE: 

Around the same time several other British high street banks began closing accounts of British customers who live in the EU, although with the exception of Barclaycard customers in Spain who were largely spared.

Many UK nationals who live in Spain maintain at least one UK bank account – in addition to a Spanish account – sometimes just for savings but others use their accounts regularly to receive income such as pensions or income from rental property or – for remote workers – to receive income for work done in the UK.

Not having a UK bank account can make financial transactions in the UK more complicated or incur extra banking fees.

READ MORE: What are the best UK banks for Brits in Spain?

Since Brexit, the UK banking sector no longer has access to the ‘passporting’ system which allows banks to operate in multiple EU countries without having to apply for a separate banking licence for each country.

And it seems that many UK high street banks are deciding that the extra paperwork is not worth the hassle and are withdrawing completely from certain EU markets. 

When British banks began withdrawing services from customers in the EU back in 2020, a UK government spokesman told British newspaper The Times that “the provision of banking services is a commercial decision for firms based on a number of factors” so Brits in Spain probably shouldn’t hold their breath for any help from that direction.

READ ALSO: Premium Bond holders in Spain may have to cash in if no UK bank account

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