The UK officially left the European Union at the end of January, bringing out the biggest change to freedom of movement in ages. The impacts of Brexit are finally starting to take shape. EU borders are now closed for British travellers, unless they fit under the following conditions.
Nothing has changed overnight, but both the UK and the EU agreed to share some social, work and environmental standards. Those thinking about moving outside the UK to Europe should be aware of the following.
After 31st January, British nationals in EU countries must comply to their host country’s COVID-19 rules, including non-essential travel bans.
There is still a lot of uncertainty and this may be the case for a little while. This could be an opportunity to move abroad if you were thinking of doing so. This said, you could say that it is more of a commitment now, so you need to consider the move carefully.
The Withdrawal Agreement
If you are a British national already living in Europe, you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. The agreement protects your rights in EU countries as long as you work, study, finance yourself or already have the right to live there.
This transition period ended at the start of January 2021, so you now need to conform to new rules. You may need to apply for a new residence status, specific to your particular country. Complete an easy form on the GOV.UK website to check if this applies to you.
Moving to Europe After 1st January 2021
As the UK have now left the EU, movers must comply to the changes. Each country has their own rules, so research country information before you commit to moving overseas. The government say that EHIC cards will remain valid until they expire, and will be replaced with a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).
Changes for British nationals:
British nationals no longer have an automatic right to live and work anywhere in the EU. However, rights will extend for those already living in Europe.
One other significant change is that British nationals living in the EU will get residency cards to prove their status. Beforehand, British nationals did not have to register as permanent residents.
Spain, Portugal and Poland are amongst the countries allowing Brits to stay, if their citizens get extended settlement rights in Britain. This is still in negotiation.
Belgium has assured its British expats they can stay in place and work without a permit. British nationals have until the end of 2021 to register as third-country nationals rather than EU citizens.
For all countries, it is time to apply for residency and work permits. For the most part, the deadline is December this year, but do it as soon as possible.
Working in the EU
Because of Brexit, it may be more difficult to get a new role or opportunity. Try and get a job lined up before you commit to moving. Alternatively, plan how you will otherwise finance your lifestyle, as there is less support available.
It may be helpful to have qualifications to improve your chances of getting a job. They have to be recognised by the particular country.
Even if you only work in the EU a few times a month, you may need a visa now. This is possible but it can be expensive and takes several weeks. You will likely need to apply for more permissions than you did prior to this year.
You will also need to consider healthcare and finances, although this is always a worry. As a whole, the changes should not put you off plans to move. Do your research to have a better idea of what to expect.
The Erasmus scheme that helped British students studying a semester abroad in Europe previously, will not continue from this year. Those students already studying there will not be affected, but this does mean that you will have to finance studying abroad yourself if you wish to do so. There may also be higher tuition fees.
Holidays and second homes
In fact, one of the biggest changes are for those planning to holiday overseas in the EU. Whereas this was once without many limits, without a visa you can only stay in an EU country for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period.
This means for those lucky to have a holiday home, they cannot go there for longer. Travelling for business is also likely to be restricted to shorter trips, for example, for client or customer meetings.
You can still retire anywhere in Europe, but you must register there as a resident by 30th June 2021. If you don’t live there yet, without a visa the 90-day limit applies. You can still receive a state pension, but you must tell your local council and HM Revenue and Customs of your whereabouts.
When will I not be able to move?
The truth is that there is a lot of uncertainty around it at the moment. The talks have been going on for a while. What we do know is, that it is a good time to be thinking about it and committing. It is likely that the restrictions and limitations will get tougher very soon.
It is also likely that flight prices will go up because there is less availability. When flights pick up again many people will be keen to book their flights. Keep this in mind and try and plan ahead early.
If you decide to take the leap and move out of the UK, it may be best to do it sooner rather than later. We can help you make the move as simple and smooth as possible with our removal services.
At Britannia Movers International, we have experience of removals to all popular destinations in Europe, like Spain, France, Germany or Greece. Find out more about European removals with us today.