British and EU citizens looking to immigrate will soon face stricter border requirements after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31st.
From January 1st, Britons will be treated as “third country” nationals in the EU. They will no longer have the freedom of movement to work, study, or retire anywhere in the European Union. Likewise, Britain will also start processing EU nationals at the borders, like any other non-UK passport holders.
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the four million EU citizens living in Britain and 1.3 million Britons living in any EU country can keep their rights and settle where they are. Yet, they can’t move to a different EU country without facing immigration laws.
On the other hand, tourists from either side will see immediate changes. Nevertheless, both sides agreed to keep it visa-free, as long as the other party keeps it that way.
Post-Brexit Passport, Visa, and Freedom of Movement Within the EU and the UK
After the Brexit transition period, the EU will stop UK passport holders from using automated e-gates. EU passport holders will continue using British e-gates. Britons looking to visit must hold passports with at least six months of validity. They will also need travel insurance, enough funds, and a return ticket upon request. Stays will be limited to 90 days in a rolling 180-day period.
Europeans who are looking to enter Britain may still use a national ID card until October. After October, they will only accept passports for stays of up to six months. People with criminal records may be banned, too. Non-European relatives of a European national may need a visa, depending on nationality.
Europeans can keep using their EU pet passports as long as the rabies vaccines are updated. On the other hand, Britons must see a vet at least a month before their trip to any EU country.
Irish citizens will keep their freedom of movement, based on a century-old bilateral arrangement.
Post-Brexit Business Travels in the EU and the UK
Business travelers have yet to see any new arrangements regarding the specific visa requirements starting January 1st.
For now, Britons attending conferences or meetings in the EU will be exempted from visas if they are not receiving payments or providing services. However, for other types of business trips, whether as posted workers or self-employed workers, a visa or a work permit may be required depending on the destination’s immigration law. Tax and social security may also be a consideration. In Britain, EU citizens with job offers will need to prove English-language skills and a minimum salary.
Non-EU citizens or residents, including Britons, may be restricted from offering certain services or even owning companies. Those who do not have national licenses may not operate, and customs declarations may be required if goods are brought in.
Post-Brexit Student Visa in the EU and the UK
The 143,000 EU students currently studying in British universities and new potential students will feel the changes from January 1st.
First, courses that will go beyond six months will require a visa besides hefty tuition fees. The same is true for degrees such as medicine or MBAs at prestigious universities. The hefty costs may force European students to stick with EU institutions. As the second most popular education destination, Britain and the UK universities will feel the blow in their finances.
Conversely, British students who wish to go to EU universities may also encounter higher tuition fees and stricter visa requirements. British students will also be excluded from subsidized exchanges between EU countries offered under the Erasmus+ program.
EU to UK immigration and Vice Versa
Britons have long favored some EU countries like Spain, France, Germany, and Italy for work or retirement. As the Brexit is finalized, they will have to jump through the same hoops as other” third country” nationals when migrating to any EU member country. That said, they will have to face evaluation according to age, English language ability, income/funds, and be required to pay a health surcharge before they can acquire a visa.
Britain will use a point-based system starting in 2021, which will make it harder for Europeans to move there.