How Brexit affects expats’ state pensions and other entitlements

Existing British expatriates' state pensions are protected under the Brexit deal, and they retain the right to receive free healthcare. But there are no guarantees about the future.

The eleventh-hour Brexit deal between the UK and the European Union has not resolved all the uncertainties facing Britons who hope to retire and live in an EU member state. Existing expatriate retirees are protected. They will retain their right to live in the EU state where they currently reside and to receive free healthcare. But there are no guarantees about the future.

One problem is residency. Britons travelling to the EU will now need a visa if they intend to spend more than 90 days in an EU country over the course of a year. That’s not to say you won’t be able to secure permission to live in France, Spain or another EU state, but there are no automatic rights to do so.

In addition, while you will continue to be able to claim your British state pension when retiring elsewhere in the EU, you will need to notify the government’s International Pension Centre of your move. Like current expatriate retirees, you should continue to see your state pension increased in line with the UK each year.

The final issue is healthcare. While the UK was a member of the EU, British pensioners living in the bloc were entitled to the same state healthcare as citizens of the country where they resided. That won’t apply to new retirees, who may need to pay for expensive health insurance. 

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