Michael Gove last night warned British companies it was their last chance to prevent disruption when the Brexit transition period ends this week.
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 up to 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.
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.
Lorries queue at the Port of Dover yesterday as Britons were warned to prepare for ‘some disruption’
Heathrow Terminal 5 on Christmas Eve as people caught the last few flights out of the UK before travel restrictions came in
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.
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.
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.
Holidaymakers will still be able to access free healthcare after the end of the Brexit transition period, the text of the deal reveals.
Those issued with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before the end of 2020 can use it before its expiry date.
Next year, Britain will issue a new card – called the UK Global Health Insurance Card.
This willl be similar to the EHIC in that people will be entitled to state-provided medical treatment if they fall ill or have an accident in any EU country, or in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
The new card will cover chronic or existing illnesses and routine maternity care as well as emergencies.
The 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.
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
Hundreds of British tourists ESCAPE and flee in the night after being forced into quarantine at Swiss ski resort hotels despite fears they could have mutant virus strain
Hundreds of British tourists forced into quarantine in a Swiss ski resort fled in the night rather than seeing their holidays go downhill.
Around 200 of the 420 or so affected British tourists in the luxury Verbier resort quit under the cover of darkness, the local SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported.
Switzerland’s ski resorts were set to boom with snow-seeking British tourists – but a flight ban due to the new Covid-19 variant raging in England put those plans on ice.
Hundreds of British tourists forced into quarantine in a Swiss ski resort fled in the night rather than seeing their holidays go downhill
Switzerland’s ski resorts were set to boom with snow-seeking British tourists – but a flight ban due to the new Covid-19 variant raging in England put those plans on ice
The drastic ruling by the Swiss government also included a 10-day retroactive quarantine for anyone who arrived from Britain since December 14, following the discovery of a new variant of the coronavirus which experts fear spreads more quickly.
Some of the British tourists affected in Verbier left immediately, while others stuck it out for a bit before quitting.
‘Many of them stayed in quarantine for a day before they set off unnoticed under the cover of darkness,’ Jean-Marc Sandoz, spokesman for the wider Bagnes municipality, told SZ.
He called the whole situation ‘the worst week our community has ever experienced’.
British tourists normally make up 21 per cent of the Verbier clientele, and most start pouring in just after Christmas.
Voted Switzerland’s best ski resort for the past two years, Verbier markets itself as offering ‘adrenaline-packed thrills, simple pleasures and a chic lifestyle’.
The Verbier Tourist Office has been holding daily crisis cell meetings to try to deal with the ever-changing coronavirus picture.
‘It was when they saw the meal trays remained untouched that the hoteliers noticed that the customers had gone,’ Sandoz told ATS news agency.
He said that according to a Saturday survey of the ski resort’s hotels, fewer than 10 people would still be in quarantine.
The rest would either have left or their quarantine time would have expired.
‘We can’t blame them. In most cases, quarantine was untenable. Imagine four people staying in a hotel room of 20 square metres,’ Sandoz said.
He said the tourists left feeling ‘a little angry with Switzerland’ and with the sense of having been ‘trapped’.
Flights between Switzerland and the two countries were halted on Monday, but the first outbound flights from Zurich to Britain resumed on Thursday.
Two cases of the new British coronavirus variant have been detected in Switzerland and one in neighbouring Liechtenstein, the Swiss health ministry said Sunday.
Two cases of the new South African variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19, have also been detected, the ministry said.
So what does this deal mean for you? Visa-free travel for six months, no permits to drive on the continent – but holiday homes could cost more and food prices may still rise
Any surprises in store at the supermarket?
Will my weekly groceries cost more? Hopefully not in the long-term. Businesses have welcomed the deal that allows tariff-free and quota-free access to one of the world’s biggest markets
Will my weekly groceries cost more?
Hopefully not in the long-term. Businesses have welcomed the deal that allows tariff-free and quota-free access to one of the world’s biggest markets. A No Deal Brexit would have added £3billion a year to the cost of food for UK consumers, according to the British Retail Consortium.
The trade body, which represents UK retailers, said households around the country could breathe a ‘collective sigh of relief’. However, chief executive Helen Dickinson warned the Government would need to act quickly to ‘reduce the checks and red tape’ that will come in on January 1.
Will the shelves be empty?
This is where we may have a problem. An overview published by the European Commission suggested the EU would immediately implement tough new checks on food products – with no grace period.
Leaders in British food and farming have warned that this, plus the chaos in Dover and last-minute nature of the deal, is likely to result in some price rises. They also fear perishable food will become caught in border queues. The UK’s food chain could well be ‘slower, more complex and more expensive for months if not years’, according to the Cold Chain Federation.
Keeping an eye on the crooks
Will we know if offenders come to UK from the EU? Yes … to an extent. As expected, UK police and intelligence agencies are to be cut off from the EU’s most sensitive real-time crime databases
Will we know if offenders come to UK from the EU?
Yes … to an extent. As expected, UK police and intelligence agencies are to be cut off from the EU’s most sensitive real-time crime databases. But security services will still have access to crucial air passenger data, criminal record information, and DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data through the PNR and Prüm databases.
Can we catch criminals who flee Britain?
Not as easily. We will no longer be part of the European Arrest Warrant system, which allows swift extradition of criminals between EU countries. It is not clear what will replace this. Our police will, however, still be able to extradite criminals via Interpol and fall back on the 1957 European Convention on Extradition.
That home from home could cost a little more
What about my holiday house? We will probably have to wait for the full document to see if there are any safeguards for Britons with homes abroad
What about my holiday house?
We will probably have to wait for the full document to see if there are any safeguards for Britons with homes abroad.
Experts have already warned that property taxes could rise to higher rates which apply only to non-EU citizens.
Property insurance costs could also rise and mortgages become more difficult to obtain for British citizens looking to buy houses or apartments in the EU.
But any owners will continue to be protected by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.
What if I live in the EU?
There was little reassurance for Britons already living in Europe, whose rights have so far been safeguarded by the UK’s 2019 withdrawal agreement.
From January 1, the UK will no longer have freedom of movement, meaning Britons will have to obtain a visa if they want to stay in the EU longer than 90 days.
No information has emerged yet as to whether current expats will be afforded any concessions.
Any expats continuing to enjoy their favourite television programmes from home should brace themselves – it may become harder for them to watch UK channels abroad.
British TV and video-on-demand providers will no longer be able to offer their service across Europe unless they relocate part of their business to an EU member state.
The pound in your pocket
Will it be harder to access my money?
It is uncertain. Banks may have to apply for a licence to work in each different EU jurisdiction, which is costly and time-consuming.
Will it cost more to get currency on holiday?
Not if current rates are anything to by. Sterling surged ahead of the deal – a good thing if you’re on holiday on the continent as a stronger pound means your money is worth more in euros.
Take care when you call
Will I pay extra to use my mobile abroad? Probably not – as long as you’re careful
Will I pay extra to use my mobile abroad?
Probably not – as long as you’re careful. The EU ban on roaming charges will end on January 1 but, as part of the deal, the UK and EU have agreed to co-operate on ‘fair and transparent rates for international mobile roaming’.
Fortunately, four main providers in the UK – EE, 02, Vodafone and Three – have said they have no plans to reintroduce roaming charges.
It’s business as usual… with a few new rules
Can I still work in the EU?
With a little more difficulty. Britons will no longer have complete freedom to work or start a business in the EU. However, arrangements have been made to facilitate short-term business trips. For any stays longer than 90 days they will need a visa.
What if I’m a specialist in my field?
Employees in highly skilled jobs who have been seconded to the EU are subject to less strict rules, with managers allowed to stay for up to three years and trainees for one year.
That said, it will probably be harder for doctors, nurses, dentists, engineers and vets wanting to practise abroad because there will be no more automatic recognition of qualifications. Instead, they will have to seek new recognition in whichever member state they choose to go to.
Can I study abroad?
Yes. The UK has pulled out of the EU-funded student exchange programme Erasmus for financial reasons, but it is being replaced by a new scheme named after Bletchley Park code breaker Alan Turing that will allow British students to go to universities worldwide.
Keep on motoring
Can I still drive in Europe? Yes. The UK Mission to the EU said last night that those with a driving licence issued in the UK would not need to use an International Drivers Permit in the EU, as had previously been thought likely
Can I still drive in Europe?
Yes. The UK Mission to the EU said last night that those with a driving licence issued in the UK would not need to use an International Drivers Permit in the EU, as had previously been thought likely.
How do I get the extra documents?
An international driving permit is available at the Post Office for £5.50. You also need a car insurance green card which acts as proof that you are insured in the UK through your provider, which can take up to six weeks.