Cyprus Mail
Brexit Britain Europe Guest Columnist Opinion World

How will Brexit affect me? Ask the High Commissioner

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Dominic Raab and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier

High Commissioner Stephen Lillie
By Stephen Lillie, British High Commissioner

Thank you to those of you who wrote in on the back of my first column last week and raised interesting questions and concerns. This has underlined the importance to me of doing a column so we can provide you and your families with information to help you make decisions about your future. We are sorry that we have not been able to fully address all the issues raised in your responses. Some issues will only be clarified once negotiations progress further. We have made a note of questions that we have not yet provided replies to and will undertake to respond once we have more information.

Please continue to send in your questions to [email protected]

Please note for editorial purposes we have, in some cases, combined questions to provide as much information as possible.

And, I hope to see some of you at one of the series of outreach events taking place across the island in November and December – details listed below.

 On 14/6/2000 we were jointly granted permanent residency for which we had applied via the form M55 and paid the sum of 50 Cyprus pounds for which we still have the receipt and were told that this immigration permit granted us permanent residency for life. Can you please advise us as to if this permit still valid?

If you were issued with a permanent residency permit before Cyprus joined the EU or have an ARC stamp in your passport, you are classed as a third country national. Our understanding is that in order for the EU Citizens Right Agreement to apply to you, you will need to attend your local immigration office and apply for updated residency permits, which are covered by the EU Directive. More information is available on the Civil Registry and Migration Department website and on the Cyprus Living in Guide https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-cyprusddd

If I have a UK driving licence do I need to convert it into a Cypriot driving licence?

What happens if you have not been resident for five years before Brexit transitional period has been completed? There are delays in the processing of MEU3’s what if we have not heard anything? Do we have to change our MEU1 into an MEU3 by law?

The Civil Registry and Migration Department has recently issued a comprehensive guide on residency and the Withdrawal Agreement for British Nationals in Cyprus. This is available on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-cyprus. This gives information relating to the status of both the MEU1 and MEU3. British nationals who are resident in Cyprus should follow this as the policy of residency post-Brexit. The policy states that if you have been living in Cyprus for five years then you should apply for permanent residence (MEU3). The policy also states that if you have not lived in Cyprus for five years, before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020), that you will be able to stay in Cyprus until you have reached the five year threshold needed to qualify for permanent residence. All UK nationals who have been residing in Cyprus for more than 90 days and wish to continue to live here should legalise their status by registering. We understand that the application process for changing MEU1s to MEU3s is taking longer than originally planned due to the volume of applications.

I have Cypriot nationality and my wife is British, she has had an MEU1 since August 2017 can she apply for an MEU3?

We have been married since 2002. I am married to a Cypriot citizen and applied for Cyprus citizenship is there anything else I need if this does come through before Brexit?

All British nationals whether they are married or not to Cypriot nationals must have their residency status legalised. If you have yet to receive or have not yet applied for citizenship for the Republic of Cyprus then you should ensure that you have your MEU1 or MEU3. If you have been on island for five years or more, you should be able to apply for an MEU3 straight away but will need to provide the information requested by the Civil Registry and Migration Department. You can also apply for citizenship. Information on the process is available on http://moi.gov.cy/moi/CRMD/crmd.nsf/All/CB9DF96125B55FBEC2257A3D0045CF25?OpenDocument

I have owned a property in Cyprus for 12 years but am not due to retire to Cyprus permanently for another six years. Please could you tell me where I stand regarding residency and how I should proceed?

If you are not currently a resident in Cyprus and do not intend to be resident before December 2020 there are likely to be new residency rules relating to the future. Whilst we do not have all the details at present the new residency guide issued by the Civil Registry and Migration Department does describe the likely requirements and application process.

I have owned a pre-74 British title property in the north for many years. I come and go several times a year, sometimes I fly into Larnaca and out of Timbou or vice versa. Will I still be able to do this or will the ROC authorities refuse me entry on the grounds I entered by an ‘illegal’ port? 

Please refer to our Travel Advice webpage for all travel related advice both en route to and when in Cyprus. Until the Brexit negotiations are finalised there will remain some uncertainty over future travel requirements. We will keep British nationals fully updated via our Travel Advice pages.

 

What will happen to our residency status in the event of a No Deal?

Is there still a transition period after Brexit, which will happen in March next year, within which European Union nationals can still travel and work in the UK without a visa?

Securing the rights of citizens has always been the UK government’s priority and we have delivered on this commitment. The draft Withdrawal Agreement published in March will secure the rights of EU citizens and their family members living in the UK, and UK nationals living in the EU. In the unlikely event we leave without a deal, the Prime Minister has confirmed that all EU citizens resident in the UK before March 29, 2019 will be able to stay. To echo her words, “You are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues. We want you to stay.” We are now urging our EU counterparts, including Cyprus, to offer the same reassurance to UK nationals living in their countries – that they can stay regardless of the outcome of negotiations – as the PM offered EU citizens residing in the UK.

 If I have a UK driving licence do I need to convert it into a Cypriot driving licence? Will I still be able to drive on a Cypriot driving licence after Brexit even in a No Deal?

If you are resident in Cyprus, irrespective of Brexit, you are obliged to convert your British licence into a Cyprus driving licence. A Cypriot driving licence allows you to drive in all countries within the EU. After March 2019, if there is a “No Deal” your UK driving licence may no longer be valid by itself when driving in the EU. The UK government has published a detailed technical notice on this issue, which has further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/how-to-prepare-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-with-no-deal

 

Update: We are aware that some of you have had flights cancelled because of Cobalt Airline indefinitely suspending operations on 17 October. Guidance and advice is available on our Cyprus Travel Advice webpage. Further information is also available on the announcement made by the Cyprus Ministry of Transport.

 

The dates of the British High Commission’s Brexit outreach events have been confirmed as follows:

7 November at Oroklini, from 10:00 to 12:00

12 November at Protaras, from 10:30 to 12:30

15 November at Limassol, from 15:00 to 17:00

27 November at Pafos, from 14:00 to 16:00

27 November at Peyia, from 17:30 to 19:30

3 December at Nicosia, from 11:00 to 13:00

We have created events on our FB page too.

 

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