A ‘Good’ Money Move to Europe

Date Posted:Thu, 16th Jan 2020

A ‘Good’ Money Move to Europe

By BBG Member Jason Porter, Blevins Franks Financial Management


As a Briton who has become used to the sun of the Gulf you may consider moving to the sunny south of Europe rather than the UK at or before retirement.

How do you stand now that we have new deadlines for Britain’s departure from the EU?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK will be able to schedule to withdraw in law from the EU by 31 January. This will be followed by a period of transition, when the UK will negotiate a wider, long-term agreement with the EU.

During this period, it will appear as though the UK remains a member of the EU, applying all of its laws. This period is due to end on 31 December.

If you move after the transitional period has concluded the overall requirements might then be far more onerous. So where might you stand?

Moving during the transitional period

Once a UK national has moved to an EU27 Member under Freedom of Movement they can apply, effectively at their leisure, for a temporary residence card. This is renewable annually for five years.

To qualify you would need to provide various forms of documentation, the most important of which are proof of medical insurance and proof of sufficient financial resources, so you are not deemed to be a burden on the member state’s social care system.

Proof of medical insurance

Each state’s requirements vary, though it is envisaged access to medical care – through a full history of UK national insurance contributions via the UK’s form S1 – will continue for those residing in the EU27 before the end of the transitional period.

If you arrive during the transitional period you would have up to six months after it ends to obtain a residence card, if you haven’t already done so.

Sufficient resources?

The withdrawal agreement only covers the position during transition. It is expected the current annual residence cards will be replaced with new-style cards in a post-Brexit world and this will be a simple exchange exercise.

Unfortunately, we are not certain what the ‘sufficient resources’ rules might be then. The expectation is that for those arriving pre-transition the requirements will be the same. But, for those arriving thereafter, they could become more difficult to satisfy.

Also, one of the major fears is if the UK and EU cannot finally agree a deal. In this case the UK would become a ‘third state’ where the sufficient resources rules may become more onerous.

Other third state agreements set out a minimum income level which is often the state’s legal minimum wage. In France this is currently £18,250 a year per person, not per household.

Those arriving from third states need to apply for a residency card at the relevant French embassy or consulate in their own current country of residence before the expiration of the first three months of residence in France – not in France itself.

Please refer to www.retiringtoeurope.com and www.blevinsfranks.com for the latest on how Brexit affects Britons in Europe.

Jason Porter is a Director of specialist expat financial advisers Blevins Franks, which has been rated Best Overall Adviser Firm in the ‘International Adviser’ magazine best practice awards. Jason is the co-author of the book ‘Retiring to Europe’.

Things could get interesting in terms of sufficient resources. The rule here derives from an EU Directive which states: ‘In all cases this amount shall not be higher than the threshold below which nationals of the host member state become eligible for social assistance, or, where this criterion is not applicable, higher than the minimum social security pension paid by the host member state’.