Brexit and you


On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom (UK) voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a referendum. The UK leaving the EU is known as ‘Brexit’ (short for ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’).

On 29 March 2017, the UK gave notice to the European Council under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (pdf) of its intention to leave the EU. From this date, the EU and the UK had 2 years to negotiate arrangements for the UK to leave.

This means that the UK was expected to leave the EU on 29 March 2019. The European Council agreed on 10 April 2019 to extend Article 50 until 31 October 2019. This decision was taken in agreement with the UK.

On 29 October 2019, the European Council agreed with the UK to further extend the period of Article 50 until 31 January 2020. If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by the EU and the UK before then, the period may be shorter. In that case, the Withdrawal Agreement may enter into force on either 1 December 2019, 1 January 2020 or 1 February 2020.

EU Settlement Scheme

The EU and UK have reached an agreement (pdf) in principle on the rights for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU after Brexit. The UK has set up an EU Settlement Scheme, under which EU citizens and their family members living in the UK can apply to continue living there after 30 June 2021.

EU citizens (except for Irish citizens) and their family members living in the UK must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for settled status if they wish to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. If you do not have 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK, you may get pre-settled status instead.

  • Settled status means that you can live in the UK for as long as you want. You will have access to public funds and services (if you are eligible) and you can apply for British citizenship. Any children born in the UK after you get settled status will automatically be British citizens.
  • Pre-settled status means that you can live in the UK for a further 5 years. When you have had 5 years’ continuous residence, you can then apply to change to settled status. You must do this before your pre-settled status expires.

The deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

For more information on applying for settled status in the UK, see the details of the EU Settlement Scheme on

Irish citizens wishing to stay in the UK

If you are an Irish citizen who wishes to stay living in the UK, you do not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Your rights to live, work and access public services in the UK are protected under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If a withdrawal agreement is not agreed, these rights will still be protected.

However, even though you do not need to apply to the scheme yourself, your family members from outside of the UK and Ireland will need to apply.

Social security

The current arrangements for social security between Ireland and the UK have not changed. All social welfare payments made by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, including pensions and Child Benefit, continue to be paid as normal.

Social security arrangements between the UK and the EU27 are also unchanged at present.

Further information

You can find further information on about the expected effects of Brexit. Read more in our documents What is Brexit? and Brexit information and supports and Brexit updates.

There is guidance for UK nationals about living and travelling in the EU on, including information on what happens if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Page edited: 5 November 2019