At last. Important information from the rounds of meetings between the EU/UK
We now know that regardless of any agreements on the future relationship EU/UK, there are regulations that will come into force next year. Citizens should prepare for these changes commencing in January 1, 2021.
CHANGES HAPPENING IN ANY SCENARIO
This section provides an overview of the main areas of change that will take place in any event as of the end of the transition period, whether there is an agreement on a future partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom or not.
The changes described here will result automatically from the fact that, as of 1 January 2021, the transition period allowing for the temporary participation of the United Kingdom in the EU Single Market and Customs Union will cease, thereby putting an end to the free movement of persons, goods and services. Leaving the Single Market and Customs Union will lead to additional barriers to trade and to the cross-border mobility of people, and adjustments will be necessary both on the side of the Union and of the United Kingdom. By leaving the Union, the United Kingdom is also leaving all Union international agreements, automatically and by law.
If not yet done, public administrations, businesses and citizens in the Union must urgently take all the necessary readiness measures to prepare for these changes with a view to minimising the cost of disruptions as much as possible.
Extracts that will be of interest to UK nationals residing in Spain and holiday home owners. Full information on all changes can be found in the link to the full document below.
Travelling and tourism
Checks on persons.
During the transition period, UK nationals are treated like Union citizens. Therefore, UK nationals currently benefit from freedom of movement when entering the European Union and the Schengen area.
As of 1 January 2021, UK nationals travelling to the European Union and the Schengen area will be treated as third-country nationals, and therefore subject to thorough checks at the Schengen area border. This means that intended stays on the territory of EU Member States cannot have a duration of more than 90 days in any 180-day period, and UK nationals will have to meet the entry conditions for third-country nationals. They can also no longer make use of the EU/EEA/CH lanes reserved for persons enjoying the right to free movement when crossing the border.
During the transition period, UK nationals are treated like Union citizens. Therefore, they are not subject to any visa requirements in the European Union, in particular when crossing Schengen borders.
Recent EU preparedness legislative measures have ensured that, as of 1 January 2021, UK nationals will remain exempt from the requirement to be in possession of visas when crossing the European Union’s external borders for short-term stays (up to 90 days in any 180-day period). This visa exemption does not provide for the right to work in the Union and is subject to the reciprocity mechanism applying to third countries, i.e. it could be suspended if Union citizens would cease to be given visa-free access to the United Kingdom for short stays.
Mobility and social security coordination.
During the transition period, UK nationals continue to benefit from the free movement of persons in the Union. EU citizens can also still use their free movement rights to go and work, study, start a business or live in the United Kingdom. All Union rules on the coordination of social security systems also apply and will – under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement – continue to apply, even after the end of the transition period, to people who were in a cross-border situation involving the United Kingdom and the European Union before the end of transition period. The Withdrawal Agreement also protects the residence and work rights of EU citizens lawfully residing in the United Kingdom and of UK nationals lawfully residing in an EU Member State at the end of the transition period and their families.
As of 1 January 2021, free movement between the European Union and the United Kingdom ends. This will have repercussions on the ease of mobility for all EU citizens who are not beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement and wish to stay in the United Kingdom for longer periods, be they students, workers, retired people or their family members. All their movements to the United Kingdom will be governed by UK immigration laws. UK companies wanting to recruit EU citizens will have to follow UK rules that do not apply today under the Union regime. All movements to the EU of UK nationals who are not beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement will be governed by Union and Member States’ migration rules. EU companies wanting to recruit UK nationals will have to follow the relevant rules for third- country nationals of the Union and their respective Member States.
For those EU citizens who will exercise some form of mobility under the new UK regime, the current coordination of social security systems foreseen by Union regulations will cease to exist. The same will be true for UK nationals in the EU, unless they are covered by specific Union rules related to third-country nationals. There will not be the same extensive cross- border social security protection as under current Union rules, as Union rules will no longer apply. Even under a future partnership agreement with the United Kingdom, only certain social security entitlements could potentially be ensured. The exact terms that will apply depend on the outcome of negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom on the future partnership, for instance on health care costs or pension rights.
Travelling with pets
During the transition period, pet owners resident in the United Kingdom can use the ‘EU pet passport’ to facilitate travel in the European Union with their pets.
As of 1 January 2021, an EU pet passport issued to a pet owner resident in the United Kingdom will no longer be a valid document for travelling with pets from the United Kingdom to any of the EU Member States. The requirements for pets accompanying those travelling from the United Kingdom in the future will be set by the Union.
During the transition period, Union law on the recognition of driving licenses across the European Union applies. Therefore, currently, holders of UK-issued driving licences can continue to drive in the EU without additional documentation.
As of 1 January 2021, driving licenses issued by the United Kingdom will no longer benefit from mutual recognition under Union law. The recognition of driving licences issued by the United Kingdom will be regulated at Member State level. In Member States that are Contracting Parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, this Convention will apply. For further information the responsible authority of the respective Member State should be consulted.
During the transition period, Union law on roaming applies with respect to the United Kingdom. Therefore, currently, the regulation ensuring roaming without additional charges applies vis-à-vis and in the United Kingdom.
As of 1 January 2021, access for United Kingdom consumers to Roam-Like-At-Home in the European Union will no longer be guaranteed by Union law; nor will it be guaranteed for Union consumers travelling to the United Kingdom.
Both United Kingdom and EU mobile operators will thus be able to apply a surcharge on roaming customers.
Customs formalities, checks and controls
During the transition period, the United Kingdom is part of the EU Single Market and Customs Union. Therefore, there are currently no customs formalities for goods moving between the United Kingdom and the Union.
As of 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom will no longer be part of the EU Customs Union. Therefore, customs formalities required under Union law will apply to all goods entering the customs territory of the Union from the United Kingdom, or leaving that customs territory to the United Kingdom.
Recognition of professional qualifications
During the transition period, the United Kingdom takes part in the EU Single Market, including the freedom of establishment, the free movement of persons and the free provision of services. Therefore, currently, UK nationals and EU citizens holding a qualification in the United Kingdom benefit from a simplified – in some cases automatic – recognition regime in other EU countries, which allows professionals such as doctors, nurses, dental practitioners, pharmacists, veterinary surgeons, lawyers, architects or engineers to move and provide services across the European Union and the in the United Kingdom during the transition period.
As of 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom will no longer be covered by Union rules on the recognition of professional qualifications, and the recognition of qualifications obtained in EU Member States by the United Kingdom will be a matter of UK law.
UK nationals, irrespective of where they acquired their qualifications, and EU citizens with qualifications acquired in the United Kingdom will need to have them recognised in the relevant Member State on the basis of that country’s rules for third-country nationals and/or third-country qualifications as of the end of the transition period.
Advice to persons, businesses and Member State administrations
Persons concerned should seek to obtain recognition of their UK qualification in the European Union before 1 January 2021 in order to be prepared for the end of the transition period. Businesses decisions should take into account that from January 2021, after the end of transition, such recognition will happen in the relevant Member State on the basis of that country’s rules for third-country nationals and/or third-country qualification.
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