Brexit and Ireland

Introduction

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’).

After a number of delays and extensions, the UK left the European Union at 11:00 pm on 31 January 2020. The UK is now in a transition period, which will cease on 31 December 2020 (unless the UK asks for an extension before 1 July).

During the transition period, the UK will maintain EU free movement principles, which means that UK citizens, along with its goods and services, will be able to move freely throughout the EU. EU citizens will also continue to have the right to live and work in the UK as beforehand.

The UK and EU will use the transition period to negotiate a permanent arrangement to determine the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

Ireland and the UK have stated their continued commitment to the Common Travel Area, which gives residency and travel rights (among other things) to Irish citizens in the UK, and British citizens in Ireland. You can read more about ‘Residence rights of UK citizens in Ireland’.

EU Settlement Scheme

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.

You can get more information on applying for settled status in the UK, and the details of the EU Settlement Scheme on gov.uk.

Irish citizens wishing to stay in the UK

If you are an Irish citizen and you want to continue 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.

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 dfa.ie about the expected effects of Brexit. Read more in our documents What is Brexit? and Brexit information and supports.

There is guidance for UK nationals about living and travelling in the EU on gov.uk.

Page edited: 1 February 2020