Great Britain's divorce from the European Union (EU), commonly known as Brexit, will finally occur at midnight.
In the Brexit treaty, the United Kingdom (UK) and the EU have agreed that people will maintain all their social security payments during the transition period, which starts on 1 February until the end of 2020. The agreement is valid for all UK citizens and their family members, who moved to Finland before the end of the transition period.
This period starts tomorrow, once the UK has officially left the club. It will be the first time that Europe, in constant expansion from its foundation, will lose one of its members. A delicate situation for the EU because Britain is not a common member, it’s one of the strongest ones and without them seems its clear that Europe becomes weaker.
Now the British embassy and the Finnish government have elaborated a series of recommendations and tips to make easier the transition.
What happens now with Brits in Finland?
After the transition period, the right to social security benefits will remain as a rule if the person keeps its legal residence in Finland.
According to the Finnish Social Security Institution (Kela), the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU secures continued entitlement to social security benefits acquired during the UK:s EU membership and during the transition period, also after the end of the transition period.
If, after the transition period, residence in Finland or the UK continues without interruption, the entitlement to social security benefits will, as a rule, remain unchanged.
Insurance periods accrued in the UK will continue to be taken into account when determining the entitlement to social security benefits payable by Kela, such as pensions and parental allowances.
Conversely, the UK will take periods accrued in the EU into account when making decisions on social security benefits. Benefits granted on the basis of insurance periods give entitlement to health insurance benefits and family benefits financed by the country that pays the benefits in question.
The rules to travel to the EU will remain the same during this period. British citizens can move to a different country in the EU in the same way as before today.
British citizen, register your right of residence
If you are a British citizen and you have not yet registered for the right of residence, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) recommends to do it as soon as possible in order to avoid future complications. The fastest and easiest way to do it is to fill in an application in the e-service Enter Finland HERE
Then, you should book an appointment with the Finnish Immigration Service to prove your identity and to show the original documents that are attached to the application, which can be submitted until 30 June 2021.
If the British citizen has resided legally in Finland for an uninterrupted period of five years, the Finnish Immigration Service suggests to apply for a certificate of the right of permanent residence of an EU citizen.