Last chance to prepare for Brexit! British firms and holidaymakers are warned to be ready for ‘substantial disruption’ from New Year’s Eve when the UK leaves the EU
- Cabinet Office minister told people to check passport valid when travelling
- From Friday there will be new processes at border when going to the Continent
- Disruption far less severe than it would’ve been had a trade deal not been struck
The Cabinet Office minister told businessmen and holidaymakers to have the right paperwork in place, take out comprehensive travel insurance, ensure their passport is valid and check if their mobile phone provider will impose roaming charges when they travel to the Continent.
And he warned pet owners that they must contact their vet four months before travelling if they want to take their animals abroad.
Michael Gove (pictured) last night warned British companies it was their last chance to prevent disruption when the Brexit transition period ends this week
The disruption will be far less severe than it would have been had Boris Johnson (pictured) been unable to strike a trade deal with the EU
What will it be like to travel from January 1?
Will I still be able to go on holiday in Europe?
Yes. UK citizens can travel across Europe without a visa for up to six months in a year, and a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. This would have been the case even in a No Deal scenario. However, freedom to travel may continue to be constrained by emergency coronavirus restrictions. You should have at least six months left on your passport before you travel, as already advised by the Government. From 2022, UK nationals will also have to pay for a visa-waiver scheme to visit many EU countries. The fee is yet to be decided by the EU but it will cover three-year periods and allow people to enter the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.
Free mobile phone data roaming will end and British passport holders will no longer be able to use the EU passport queue at airports and other borders.
Will my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) still work?
Yes, for now, and then the UK will provide its own version. All EHIC cards issued before the end of 2020 will be valid – but only until their expiry dates. After that, the UK will issue a new card called the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), but there are no further details yet on how to obtain it or from when it will be available.
What will the new card cover?
Like the EHIC, it will cover chronic or existing illnesses and routine maternity care as well as emergencies.
The Brexit agreement says any specialised treatment, such as dialysis or cancer treatment, ‘must be subject to a prior agreement between the insured person and the unit providing the treatment’ to ensure the treatment is available.
Can I still take my pet on holidays in Europe?
Yes, though pet passports will no longer be valid from January 1. It has been agreed that Britain will be given ‘part two listed’ status, allowing pets to travel within EU borders. Owners will need to ensure their pets have been vaccinated against rabies and microchipped to get an animal health certificate. You must obtain a new certificate ten days before travelling. The document will be valid for only four months and for a single trip.
Dogs must already by law be microchipped in the UK. A consultation is under way to extend this to cats next year.
From January 1 the key changes will be:
- Holidaymakers can visit the continent for 90 days without a visa;
- No work permits for business travellers, who can also travel to EU for 90 days in any 180-day period;
- EU pet passports no longer valid for UK residents;
- End to free movement of people with the EU, and its replacement with a points-based immigration system.
From Friday there will be new processes at the border and new rules on importing and exporting goods.
However, the disruption will be far less severe than it would have been had Boris Johnson been unable to strike a trade deal with the EU.
As part of preparations for leaving the bloc, the Government has invested £705million in jobs, technology and infrastructure at the border and provided more than £80million for new customs facilities to carry out checks.
Mr Gove, who was in charge of no-deal planning, said: ‘We have secured a fantastic free trade agreement that works for all four corners of the United Kingdom and delivers on our manifesto pledge to get Brexit done and take back control of our laws, borders and money.
‘In just three days’ time the Brexit transition period will end and we will have finally regained our independence. The deal is done, but with big change comes challenge and opportunity.
‘The nature of our new relationship with the EU – outside the single market and customs union – means that there are practical and procedural changes that businesses and citizens need to get ready for, and time to make these final preparations is very short.
‘We know that there will be some disruption as we adjust to new ways of doing business with the EU, so it is vital that we all take the necessary action now on gov.uk/ transition to ensure we are as ready as possible.
‘Huge opportunities await us as an outward-looking, free trading, fully sovereign United Kingdom.’
Many people are still not ready for the changes with only a few days to go.
Mr Gove urged businesses to make sure they understand the new rules on importing and exporting goods between the EU and Great Britain from January 1, including the different rules that apply to trade with Northern Ireland.
They should consider how they will make customs declarations on EU trade. This may involve appointing a customs intermediary or ensuring that they have the capacity to complete the task in house.
Hauliers should obtain a Kent Access Permit and complete the correct paperwork for their cargo, or else they could be fined.
Firms should also register as a licensed visa sponsor if they are planning to recruit from overseas, and they should identify changes affecting manufactured goods, such as marking requirements or approvals needed in order to send goods to the EU.