Brexit – the complicated divorce from the European Union (EU) – has dominated British headlines for years. The lengthy separation process involves every manner of agreement, debate and regulation re-write. But while politicians discuss new laws and complex trade deals, hundreds of thousands of Britons living in EU states are nervously waiting to discover how Brexit will affect them.
The UK Government has recently pledged a £3 million grant to help UK nationals living abroad in EU states. Specifically, that new funding aims to help them with residency applications and other paperwork they may need to submit.
In this article we’re going to look at the following aspects of the UK nationals support fund
- What is the UK Nationals Support Fund;
- The current situation for UK nationals living abroad;
- What UK nationals could use the funding for;
- How UK nationals could benefit from Language & Translation support.
By the end of this article you should have a good idea of what the new funding covers, and how it can help solve some of the common issues many UK nationals living in the EU will face after Brexit.
The UK Nationals Support Fund
Brexit has created an unthinkable number of issues for both the UK and the other 27-member states of the EU. Europeans in the UK and Brits in the EU have faced an uncertain future for several years, not knowing what their residency status could be after the separation date.
Given this limbo, the UK Government has announced that it is providing up to £3 million in grant funding for UK nationals living in EU states. The funding is expected to help UK nationals that:
- Are currently pensioners or suffer from a disability;
- Live in remote areas or have mobility issues;
- Need assistance with language interpretation and translation.
Additionally, the UK Government has said:
“The focus on this is particularly with more vulnerable people who might find it challenging to complete paperwork, those who live in remote areas or with mobility difficulties, and those needing assistance with language translation or interpretation.”
This funding will also help charities and other voluntary organisations to inform UK nationals about the need to register or apply for residency. These organisations will be fully equipped and able to support UK nationals as they complete their applications for healthcare, residency and more.
What is the situation at the moment?
There are believed to be more than 1 million UK nationals living in EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries.
Under the Withdrawal Deal agreed between the EU and Theresa May, these UK nationals would have been able to keep their freedom of movement rights during a transition period. Unfortunately, that deal was rejected several times by MPs, meaning the UK is currently set to leave the EU on 31st October without a deal. This leaves the fate of UK nationals in the EU unclear.
The UK Government has said that it wants to help UK nationals living across the EU to be fully ready for Brexit, whatever the circumstances. This funding will help those people receive the support they need to apply for and protect their residency rights and additional services. In April 2019, then Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that 57 organisations across the UK were to receive funding to provide practical support to vulnerable or at-risk people applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.
This extra assistance will build on the help and support that British Embassies in EU member states are already providing. In October of 2018, the UK Government announced an additional grand funding of up to £9 million that would provide EU citizens with the support they needed to obtain settled status. This was an additional grant as part of the EU Settlement Scheme to help and inform vulnerable individuals.
This new announcement is part of a wider communication campaign by the UK Government to raise awareness of a “no deal Brexit” and allow people to prepare. The authorities are encouraging UK nationals in the EU to act now so that they can:
- register or apply for residency
- register for healthcare in their host country
- exchange their UK driving licence
- check that their passports are valid for travel
Register or apply for residency
Residents of EU states currently have freedom of movement rights throughout the EU. Britons that moved to EU countries while the UK was a member of the EU will have done so with minimal legal residency requirements.
Brexit will remove that freedom of movement for UK nationals throughout the EU. After Brexit is finalised, the legal status of UK nationals living in EU states will not be confirmed. Many UK nationals that haven’t been required to complete extensive residency paperwork will therefore need to do so.
Certain EU countries, such as France (in French), only have their applications and guidance in their native language. Therefore UK Nationals that don’t fully understand French may struggle to understand the local residency requirements when applying.
Register for healthcare
Similar to applying for residency, many UK nationals that have benefitted from the reciprocal EU health agreement will need to investigate their healthcare rights after Brexit. It’s likely that UK nationals living in EU states will need to apply for healthcare in their resident country. This is something they will not have had to do in the past.
This UK Government page explains more about how healthcare access is expected to change for Britons in Spain, for example. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued within the UK, for instance, will no longer be valid and UK residents will need to apply for a new one in their host country instead. Other factors like health care access, Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and health certificates are also likely to change.
If you are a student or pensioner, or not in permanent employment in your country of residence in the EU, then the UK government encourages you to register for healthcare there, for example in France
Exchange of Drivers License
In the past, UK driving licences were accepted throughout the EU as they met EU criteria and even have an EU flag on them. After Brexit, these British driving licences will no longer be recognised if the UK leaves EU without a deal. UK Nationals may need to either exchange their UK license for one issued locally in their home country, or apply for a local driver’s license.
Check Passports are valid for travel
The UK Government has advised that all UK nationals travelling to most EU countries should have at least 6 months validity on their passport before booking their trip. This is because passport validity rules, which are currently in place for non-EU citizens, will also apply to UK nationals once the UK leaves the EU. If your UK passport has less than 6 months of validity, then we advise renewing your UK passport.
In general, a lot of official paperwork will need to be suitably organised and for many elderly UK nationals and those living with disabilities, this could all be a very difficult process. The support they receive with the new funding should help with that.
What could UK nationals use the funding for?
Although this new funding is part of a broader campaign to inform UK nationals in the EU about how they can apply to legally maintain their residency, the UK Government has stated that there are four main areas the funding can be used for:
- Identifying the need and process to apply for residency;
- Helping with technology or documentation when applying for residency;
- Demonstrating that applicants meet the residency criteria.
- Supporting applicants with language and translation requirements;
Applying for residency
Have you completed a residency application form in the past? If you have, then you’ll be fully aware of how complicated these applications can be.
In the UK alone, there are several different types of residency applications. These can become complex and may require many different documents to support the application. Birth rights, visas, education and linguistic abilities might all be considered. When all of this is presented to you in a foreign language, it becomes even more difficult. To make matters worse, application criteria in one EU state can be vastly different in another – there’s little ‘coverall’ advice since the applications can be so different.
Notably, these applications are normally time-consuming. It’s important that UK nationals living abroad choose the right type of residency application so that they don’t wait for months, only to find out they must start all over again. It can be difficult to select the correct application when the information is in a different language. The new funding for the providers that will help to identify which type of application is best for those UK nationals living abroad. It will also provide them with the support to help UK nationals through the complicated residency application process.
Technology and documentation
As previously mentioned, specific documentation is often required to support a residency application. Specific documentation is even more important for healthcare applications. This is especially true for UK nationals currently abroad that have complex health care issues, or ESA certificates. The new funding will support these people while they identify and then obtain the documentation they need.
For many of us, it can be difficult to understand complex legal requirements and whether or not certain certificates will be deemed acceptable. The new UK nationals support funding will support local providers so that they can help UK residents abroad identify which documents they need in order to complete complicated applications. They will also help to confirm the document’s legitimacy.
Meeting residency criteria
In addition, many applicants will need to prove that they meet the local residency criteria. Often, this is a time-consuming and demanding process. Countless documents need to be sourced, certified and perhaps even legalised. The criteria may also be defined in a language that applicants cannot read or understand. The new funding should make this a less challenging task, particularly for elderly and disabled applicants.
Translation and Interpretation
Local residency, healthcare and other applications will need to be completed in the official language(s) of the host EU state. For many UK nationals living abroad this will be a significant challenge. The new support funding will make sure that providers can help to interpret and translate parts of the application for them.
Also, the legal documents and certificates that are required from UK Nationals as part of residency, healthcare and other applications may need some form of translation. If the document was issued in the UK, or in English, then it likely requires a translation into the host country’s language.
Different EU states have different ‘official translation’ requirements. These requirements are often complicated and those that don’t work in the translation industry can be quite easily confused by sworn, official, certified and other types of official translations.
The support fund is positioned to help UK nationals with language and translation support, which could be in any of the following forms:
- Translating host country residency and healthcare registration requirements into English.
- Providing official translations of UK issued documents to support an application.
- Providing interpreting support to UK nationals who need to attend appointments.
As translation and language support is a topic that’s close to us, we’ll discuss more on the complexities of this in the next section.
Language and Translation Support
When applying for residency in most EU countries, you would be required to produce an official translation of documents that aren’t issued in the local language, possibly your birth certificate, marriage certificate, university degree etc. An official translation is the translation of an official document, such as a marriage certificate, university degree etc, that has been authorised as an accurate, true translation and can be submitted to a variety of official and governmental bodies.
Countries in Europe tend to have complex ways of obtaining an official translation, and many UK nationals might be unsure about where they can find the relevant information on the requirements for residency and the process for obtaining their translation.
Why are there so many differences?
In the UK and Ireland, official translations are also known as “certified translations”. The translator who undertakes the work should be recognised by a national translation organisation. Notary publics can work with certified translators to produce notarised translations. In common law countries like the UK and Ireland, there is not an official process regulating the status of a certified translator. This does not impact the translation quality, and merely reflects the translation requirements of the country.
However, in continental Europe sworn translations are required, as per the civil law in those specific countries. Each country has different criteria for those who want to become a sworn translator. They usually have to pass an official exam, administered by the state, and be registered at a court.
Translations for EU Residency Applications
Instead of spending hours slowly working through complex and challenging translation requirements, organisations and providers that support UK nationals living abroad will now have extra funding to employ the services of locally approved translators and interpreters.
At Translayte, we specialise in providing official translations that are acceptable across many EU countries. We achieve this by working with locally approved translators and interpreters, who translate your documents in line with local requirements and guarantee translations that will be accepted by the local government. Rather than comb through an exhaustive list trying to find a sworn translator, Translayte simplifies the process by offering you instant quotes, 12 hour delivery and excellent support.
If you’re a UK national in the EU requiring support with official translations or an organisation supporting UK nationals locally with their residency applications, then contact Translayte today to discuss how we can help you.