Rights of EU Citizens

Rights of EU Citizens

The changes you'll see

EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote, or stand for election.

These changes will apply to:

  • all local elections and referendums in England;
  • elections for council and combined authority mayors; and
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

Two groups of EU citizens will keep these rights: 'qualifying EU citizens' and 'EU citizens with retained rights'.

Qualifying EU Citizens

These are EU citizens who:

  • come from countries which have reciprocal agreements with the UK
  • who have 'leave to remain' in the UK, or who do not need 'leave to remain' in the UK

Currently this means citizens from Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and Spain.

A reciprocal agreement means that the same rules apply in both the UK and that country. For example, a Spanish citizen in the UK could vote or stand for election in the UK, and a UK citizen in Spain could vote or stand for election in Spain.

EU Citizens with retained rights

These are EU citizens who were living in the UK before 1 January 2021 (in other words, before the UK left the EU).

When the changes come into force

We expect that the changes will come into force by spring 2024.