In 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU). This result ignited the process of ‘Brexit’, which is currently dominating almost every element of British politics. In November 2018, the EU and the UK negotiated a draft withdrawal agreement (deal) on the conditions for this process. However, the UK parliament rejected this agreement on numerous occasions. Consequently, the UK’s original departure date, 29 March 2019, has now been postponed until 31 January 2019. Whether Britain will leave the EU with a deal is subject to extreme political uncertainty. The Netherlands and the EU are therefore preparing for all scenarios. This blog article will explain the consequences of a no-deal Brexit in relation to British nationals in the Netherlands, and when t should seek legal advice.

British nationals living in the Netherlands

If the EU and the UK cannot reach a withdrawal agreement, the Dutch government will introduce a national transition period for British nationals in the Netherlands. This period is currently scheduled to last up to and including 30 June 2020. Essentially, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, British nationals who are lawfully residing in the Netherlands (prior to 29 March 2019) will retain their right to live, study and work in the Netherlands for at least another 15 months. This also applies to family members of UK nationals who are not EU citizens themselves. Before the date of Brexit, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) will send out temporary residence permits by post, which will be valid during the transition period. The IND has already sent these residence permits to all UK nationals legally resident by 29 March 2019.

After the transition period all UK nationals and their family members will need a new national residence permit, with which t will also have the right to work and study in the Netherlands. During the transition period you will receive an invitation by post to apply online for this permit before 1 April 2020. If your application is approved, but you disagree with some of its conditions, for example the start date of your residence permit, you should seek legal advice. If your application is rejected, you should also contact a lawyer to help with the submission of an application for review. Subsequently, if your application for review receives a negative decision, it is extremely important that a lawyer helps you appeal to the court. Essentially, the input of an experienced immigration lawyer will largely increase the likelihood of your permit application being approved.

Short stays in the Netherlands

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, British nationals will be exempt from visa requirements for short stays in the Netherlands (no more than 90 days in any 180-day period). This exemption does not provide for the right to work or study in the Netherlands.

If you plan to stay more than 90 days in any 180-day period, you may require a visa. An immigration lawyer can help determine what type of visa you may need.


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EU Citizenship

Under a no-deal Brexit, the UK immediately becomes a ‘third country’ and British nationals will no longer acquire EU citizenship. Consequently, a new regime of rules will apply in relation to the freedom of movement and other rights. However, if you can acquire Dutch citizenship through the common naturalisation process, you will automatically receive EU citizenship. If you wish to become a Dutch citizen through naturalisation, an application must be submitted to the municipality where you are registered. To be eligible for such citizenship you must meet the following conditions:

  • You are at least 18 years old.
  • You have lived legally in the Netherlands for at least an uninterrupted 5-year period, subject to certain exceptions.
  • You hold a valid Dutch residence permit.
  • You have passed the Dutch Civic Integration Exam, which shows that you are able to speak, read, write and understand the Dutch language.
  • You have received no prison sentences, community service or financial penalties of €810 or more in the 5 years prior to your naturalisation application.
  • You are willing to give up your current nationality, subject to certain exceptions.
  • You attend a citizenship ceremony where you must declare your allegiance to the Netherlands.

Completion of this process can take around 1 and a half years and will cost €881. If your application is rejected, you are not entitled to reimbursement of the application fee. It is therefore highly advisable that you hire an immigration lawyer to help you with the naturalisation procedure. Professional help will largely increase your chances of success, particularly if you have doubts or queries regarding certain eligibility requirements. EU citizenship affords a number of important rights, freedoms and legal protections to its citizens, such as the right to free movement, settlement and employment across the EU. It is therefore imperative that a citizenship application is handled by someone with the right experience for the best results.


If you wish to discuss the consequences of a no-deal Brexit do not hesitate to contact who will happily provide free advice over a telephone interview. Thereafter, Lawspot can put you in contact with a specialised immigration lawyer and arrange an appointment for a no strings attached introductory meeting.