Helpful Tips for Emigrating Abroad Post Brexit

Starting fresh abroad

At midnight between December 31 and January 1, the clocks marked not only the beginning of the new year but also the final end of the United Kingdom’s European Union membership.

As it can be appreciated, the idea of living and working abroad has always been appealing for so many reasons, and Brexit has definitely triggered that motion for people to consider starting a new life abroad. People have moved from the UK to other EU countries and vice versa with the idea of leading more prosperous lives in a different country. But this is the aspect in which the decision to leave the EU will probably have the most significant impact.

UK expats could find it more difficult to work in the EU if host countries ask them to comply with more restrictive rules related to permits and setting up businesses. Those UK citizens interested in working in the EU may lose their automatic right to do so and be asked to apply for Blue Cards. Check how the new rules effect your stay in host country of choice.

Pre-Brexit, British people were entitled to live and work anywhere they wanted to in the EU without a visa. You could’ve travelled wherever and whenever you like, you could’ve lived in any of the 28 member states for as long as you choose and you would’ve had the same employment rights as if you were a local.

After Brexit, it is very likely that each member state would impose the same visa rules that they do on other non-EU countries. In other words, they are entitled to, if they want to, ask you to have a visa and satisfy any other imposed condition.

If you are already living abroad, it’s extremely unlikely that you will  be asked to apply for a visa. However, you might see your automatic right to healthcare and other benefits withdrawn: More info here.

It is expected for the UK government to start a series of negotiations to secure UK citizens living abroad their continued right to work, reside, own property in other EU states and to access public services such as medical treatment in those states.

Alongside the EU membership will also end many benefits for UK nationals, including the benefit of travelling to the rest of the European Union Member States with only an ID.

Starting from January 1, 2021, when the transition period for the UK to leave the EU ends, all Brits travelling to any of the EU countries, excluding Ireland, will need to carry their passports with them and present them at the EU port of entry.

A British passport will be valid to travel to the EU with it, only if it meets all of the criteria listed below:

  • Is valid for at least another six months on the day its holder travels to EU
  • Is no older than 10 years on the day its holder travels to EU

If a passport is burgundy or has the words ‘European Union’ on the cover, it will be valid until the day it expires.

The government has also warned Britons who hold passports with extra months added from the previous passports, that the extra months will not count.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra month may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed,” the government points out.

The government advises all Brits planning to travel to the EU after December 31, to check whether their passports meet the criteria given above. If not, govt advises it nationals to apply for a new passport before travelling to the countries affected.

The new rules will apply for travel to and between the EU Member States, Schengen Area countries and microstates, excluding Ireland. These countries are Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holy See (Vatican), Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Aside from their passports, UK nationals are already going through other changes as a result of Brexit, including joining third-country lanes at airports, and not those they have used until April 12, as they are reserved solely for the citizens of the EU, EEA and Switzerland.

For short-term trips to the EU, Britons will not need to apply for a visa, as both the EU and UK have agreed to permit each other’s citizens to enter for short-stays with only their passports. Yet, Brits showing at the EU ports of entry must make sure they also have the following with them:

  • Proof of return or onward trip
  • Sufficient financial means to support stay in the EU
  • Proof of health insurance covering the whole EU territory

Moreover, by the end of 2022, Britons will need to obtain an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System), before travelling to the EU.

The latter is a travel system that has been established in a bid of the EU to know who will enter its territory before travellers even arrive at the borders, and will be obligatory for the passport holders of over 60 world countries that so far have benefited from the visa-free entry to the Schengen Area for short-term stays, including UK nationals.


**Courtesy of the / Photo by César+Mirna Choto from Pexels

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