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EU exit (Brexit)

This advice applies to Scotland

The UK left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. This is known as Brexit.

The UK is now in a transition period that's likely to last until 31 December 2020. During this period, the UK is still following EU rules, and nationals of European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland have the same rights to live, work and study in the UK as they did before.

The EEA includes all EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. You can check which countries are in the EU on the UK government website.

We've published new advice and updated existing pages to help answer your questions about Brexit. We'll keep updating our advice as more Brexit changes are announced.

Staying in the UK after Brexit

If you're an EEA or Swiss national living in the UK and you want to stay after 31 December 2020, you should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

You'll need to apply to stay in the UK even if you already have a permanent residence document or have lived in the UK for a long time.

See our advice on staying in the UK and keeping your family in the UK after Brexit.

If you're an Irish national, you won't have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. But see our advice about keeping your family in the UK after Brexit.

Brexit and your rights

Your rights to live, work, study and retire in the UK didn't change on 31 January 2020. You can still prove your right to work by showing your passport or national ID card. If you're told you can't work because of Brexit, this might be discrimination.

Your rights to claim benefits and get homelessness help didn't change on 31 January 2020, either. These rights might change after 31 December, but this isn't clear yet - we'll update our advice when we know more.

You can read more about how Brexit might affect EU citizens living in Scotland on the Scottish government website. This includes information about rights to housing, education, health and social care.

If you're a UK national living in an EU country, you can get country-specific information about how your rights might be affected on the UK government website. You can also read the guidance for all UK nationals living in the EU.

There are fact sheets about the rights of EU citizens in Scotland on the JustCitizens website. These fact sheets cover citizens' rights to:

  • work
  • NHS healthcare
  • vote
  • study
  • benefits
  • housing.

The fact sheets are available in English, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian and Spanish.

Travelling in Europe after Brexit

If you're travelling between the UK and the EU after 31 January 2020, you'll just need to show your passport or national ID card as usual. This applies to:

  • British citizens who are travelling to the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland
  • citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland who are coming or returning to the UK.

You can get more advice about travelling to the EU after Brexit on the UK government website.

EU Citizens Support Service

If you have any questions about the EU Settlement Scheme or need help applying, you can contact our free, confidential and impartial EU Citizens Support Service.

You can call the service helpline on 0800 916 9847. It's open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Advice for businesses

If you're an employer or a business owner, you can read the UK government's guidance on preparing businesses for Brexit.

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