Brexit messes up lives: a personal post on third nation national status

Editor: When Priti Patel smirks her delight at the ending of free movement, she neglects to remind UK citizens that, whilst our European friends and neighbours have been denied the unfettered freedom to move to the UK, we have lost our rights to live, love, work and retire freely in the EU member states. 27 countries. Why don’t people realise that we are the losers? On street stalls throughout the last four years we’ve heard individuals dismiss Brexit impact concerns with a cavalier ‘I don’t care. I’m moving/retiring to Spain/Portugal/Italy’ etc with zero awareness that this will only be an option for the wealthy. Desperate ignorance.

The heartbreaking plight of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU has not had anything like enough attention or concern. People’s lives have been turned upside down by Brexit and its hideous consequences. Here we reproduce a post from Guy Hanley, who lives in Greece.

A few months ago I went through a fairly horrible process of getting my permanent Greek residency card. The police were deliberately obtuse, asking for documentation that wasn’t officially needed, sending me away to come back at another time etc.But I finally achieved it with the help of a Greek friend who had to threaten them to give it out; a right for me in my situation. At last, after four years of turmoil over my future residency rights, I had it and could sleep soundly.

I woke up this morning to find that now next year I have to go through the whole horrible process again, proving funds, medical cover and many other things. For this I get a ‘Permanent’ card that lasts for just ten years, when I have to go through the whole process again. Why? Firstly, biometric cards are being rolled out for everyone – it was meant to be a straight swap. But thanks to our Brexit friends I will soon become a third country national (TCN). If I was an EU citizen this wouldn’t apply.

I should be OK, but think of how your financial and medical situation etc has changed over ten years. What if I or others hit bad times in ten years’ time and fail the tests? We’d have to leave our home of 21 years and return to what exactly? Best still is that (crazily in my view) EHIC cards were allowed to be given to prove medical cover, but these cease to exist in ten weeks. Those without medical cover by way of S1 [the S1 form entitles you to access the state healthcare on the same basis as a Greek citizen. Once you’re registered to work in Greece and make social insurance contributions, you’ll be entitled to healthcare…provided you have an S1] or private health insurance will be forced back to the UK when they apply for biometrics in 2021.

This is such a stressful way to live and it’s fair to say I have quite a lot of stress in my life right now. I was recently made redundant and I am shortly undergoing treatment to get rid of a brain tumour (I am 46 FFS!) ( and two weeks ago I found 3 kittens dumped by the bins, 4-5 days old, so have been bottle feeding them every 3 hr! They are adorable].

Funnily enough, a residency card for a TCN gives certain limited rights to free movement across the EU to the holder … but this excludes UK citizens! I will soon have fewer rights as someone who was born in the EU and lived in the EU for my first 45 years than someone from elsewhere around the world whose first step into the EU was onto Greek soil in 2021. So once again, a hearty [expletive deleted] to everyone that voted Brexit, who on a personal scale have cost me a fortune in money and mental health and who will soon bring the UK to a standstill. I sincerely hope it was worth it.

Editor: The Facebook post garnered a lot of comments, including this one:

It is fascinating how different countries are dealing with residency for British citizens.
SPAIN – It appears from posts on various Facebook groups that it is quite involved for some people and they are using professional help as this is dealt with locally with different civil servants having their own interpretation of the requirements.
FRANCE – A Government online portal opened on Monday 19th October and is in English and French.
LUXEMBOURG – A Government online portal opened on July 1st and was very simple and in English and I and many Brits have received their biometric residents ID cards.
AUSTRIA – As at 29th October. If brits there already have a “permanent or unlimited” residency card/document, it will be changed next year for the Art50 EUV permanent card free of charge, and no further checks will be made. Other combinations will still cost €50-70 (comparable to a local ID card)
GREECE – There is a charge of €16 (cost of production) for the biometric residents card. I don’t know other details. However from this post it sounds very difficult.
PORTUGAL – €15? for a 10 year biometric permanent residents card
Has anyone heard how other countries are handling this?

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