Brexit: what happens after the transition period ends on December 31, 2020?

On December 31, 2020, the transition period instituted by the withdrawal agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom will come to an end. This means that Brexit will come fully into effect on January 1st, 2021.

With regard to social security rights, a mechanism has been set up to safeguard pre-existing entitlements. It will be rolled out whatever the result of the ongoing negotiations on the future relationship and covers various types of circumstances.

For EU citizens working or residing in the United Kingdom on December 31, 2020, and for UK citizens settled in France on that date, the effects of any pre-existing entitlements will be maintained beyond the transition period:

A few examples:

  • entitlements will be maintained for UK pensioners residing in France as well as for French cross-border workers working in the United Kingdom, provided that their cross-border mobility circumstances date back to before December 31, 2020, and continue after that date. This means that UK pensioners will continue to draw their UK retirement pension in France and their health care expenses will be covered with no change by the French scheme on behalf of the United Kingdom. French cross-border workers will continue to belong to the UK social security system.
  • Entitlements will be maintained for temporary cross-border mobility circumstances which began prior to December 31, 2020. This can apply to a French worker posted to the United Kingdom or to a UK tourist during a temporary stay in France. In these cases, entitlements will be maintained through the end of the posting or holiday travel circumstances;
  • Family benefit entitlements will also be maintained.

Certain social security coordination mechanisms will apply to individuals who are no longer engaging in mobility on December 31, 2020, but have accrued entitlements under previous mobility circumstances.

For example, this means that the pension aggregation and proration rules will apply to an individual who worked in the United Kingdom for 20 years, pursued their career in France, and has gone on to work in Germany.

UK citizens who settled in France prior to December 31, 2020, will need to apply for a residency permit

In light of the above, it is crucial to identify those individuals whose entitlements are safeguarded under the withdrawal agreement. This includes UK citizens residing in France who will also have to prove that they are legal residents of France.

This is why it is important for these individuals to apply online for a residency permit (“titre de séjour”) at

These UK citizens have until June 30, 2021, to apply for their residency permit and will need to have been issued with this document by October 1st, 2021. As a result, as a transitional measure, proof of online application must be accepted through October 1st, 2021.

Proof of application for a residency permit will be required if they apply for any French social security entitlements.

What about anyone settling in France or in the United Kingdom after 2021 ?

U.K. citizens settling or beginning employment in France on or after January 1st, 2021, and reciprocally, French citizens settling in the United Kingdom on or after January 1st, 2021 will not be covered by the withdrawal agreement: in the absence of an agreement on the future relationship, they will be treated as foreign citizens with regard to residency and social protection rights.

To learn more

Please refer to the following official websites

For more specific answers to any social security – related questions

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