On 29 March 2017 the United Kingdom (UK) officially informed the EU of its intention to leave by invoking article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Initially it was planned that the UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019. However, the UK requested an extension of Article 50 and EU Member States unanimously agreed. On 10 April 2019, the European Council agreed to a further extension to allow for the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement by both Parties. Such an extension should last as long as necessary and, in any event, no longer than 31 October 2019. The Withdrawal Agreement may enter into force on an earlier date, should the Parties complete their respective ratification procedures before 31 October 2019.
On the date the UK leaves the EU it will no longer be an EU Member State and EU legislation on the free movement of persons will no longer apply to the UK. Correspondingly, also EU citizens living in the UK (including Latvians) will no longer benefit from EU legislation on free movement of persons.
British citizens in Latvia
Latvia welcomes the citizens of the UK to stay in Latvia to live, study and work as they are part of Latvian society. Protecting the life choices of EU and the UK citizens and their family members has been the first priority of the EU and Latvia from the beginning of Brexit negotiations.
However, the European Parliament and the UK Parliament must approve the Withdrawal Agreement. If the Withdrawal Agreement does not enter into force, the UK will leave the EU without an agreement (a no deal-scenario – see more below).
The Withdrawal Agreement (the deal scenario)
The Withdrawal Agreement safeguards the right to stay and continue their current activities both for EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in EU countries. The Withdrawal Agreement protects those EU citizens who were residing in the UK and UK nationals who were residing in one of the 27 EU Member States at the end of the transition period (31 December 2020), where such residence is in accordance with EU law on free movement.
The Withdrawal Agreement also protects the family members that are granted rights under EU law (current spouses and registered partners, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren and a person in an existing durable relationship), who do not yet live in the same host state as the Union citizen or the UK national, to join them in the future.
If the UK Parliament and the European Parliament approve the Withdrawal Agreement, it will regulate your rights as a British citizen residing in Latvia.
Without approval of the Withdrawal Agreement British citizens in Latvia will be considered third country nationals. The Parliament of the Republic of Latvia has adopted a political declaration declaring that Latvia will ensure the citizens of the UK legally residing in Latvia as favourable conditions of stay and employment as possible. The Parliament calls on the government to put forward required amendments to Latvian legislation.
On 21 March, Saeima adopted a new Law in the final reading to ensure judicial cooperation and protection of citizen’s rights during the transition period after the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. The law establishes a transition period for the citizens of the UK and their family members who will be residing in Latvia on the withdrawal date to enable them to re-register their right of residence by 31 December 2020 also if the UK withdraws from the EU without a deal. A favourable attitude as regards citizen’s rights and social security will continue to apply to UK citizens and their family members who will be legally residing in Latvia on the withdrawal date.
More detailed information about the re-registration is available on the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs webpage, information regarding social security will be provided by the Ministry of Welfare and regarding healthcare by the Ministry of Health.
Information for entrepreneurs (information in Latvian):