BREXIT: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and UK Agree on Citizens’ Rights After Brexit [UPDATED]

February 8, 2019

The UK has reached a separation agreement with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (‘the EEA EFTA States’), including a deal on citizens’ rights.

On citizen’s rights, the separation agreement largely mirrors the withdrawal agreement agreed with the EU. It protects rights in relation to residency, social security and the recognition of professional qualifications which are currently provided by the EEA Agreement. The UK will remain bound by the EEA Agreement, for the duration of the transition period which is part of the withdrawal agreement.

The agreement will be concluded before exit day and, alongside the withdrawal agreement, it will be legislated for through the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill.

This agreement does not cover a no-deal scenario. Discussions are ongoing for a further agreement to protect citizens in a no-deal situation.


On 8 February 2019, the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway reached an EEA EFTA No Deal Citizens’ Rights Agreement to protect the rights of UK nationals living in the EEA EFTA states and EEA EFTA nationals in the UK, in a no deal scenario.

What rights are protected?

  • All UK nationals lawfully residing in an EEA EFTA state at the end of the transition period will be able to stay, as will all EEA EFTA nationals lawfully residing in the UK.
  • Their family members resident in the host state by 31 December 2020 will also be covered by the rights set out in the UK-EEA EFTA separation agreement. Individuals in scope of the agreement can be joined by close family members (spouses, civil and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) who live in a different country at any point in the future, if the relationship existed on 31 December 2020 and still exists when the person wishes to come to the UK.
  • Any child born to an individual in scope is also protected by the agreement if the individual has custody of the child.
  • The agreement also protects the rights of those citizens who reside in one state and work in another (‘frontier workers’).
  • In the UK, EEA EFTA nationals and their family members can apply for a residence status through the EU Settlement Scheme. The EEA EFTA states have a choice whether to require UK nationals and their family members to apply for a residence status or not.
  • EEA EFTA professionals resident or frontier working in the UK, or vice versa, will continue to have their professional qualifications recognised, where they obtained or applied for a recognition decision before the end of the implementation period.

Our Advice

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact their Newland Chase immigration provider for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to any EU member state, please email us at [email protected]