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28 December, 2020

What will change for UK and EU citizens from 1 January 2021

The UK and EU have a post-Brexit trade and cooperation agreement. We tell you how to cross the border, live, study and do business in the new year.

How to cross borders, live and study in the UK and EU from 1 January 2021
Photo: Adobe Stock

The UK formally left the European Union on 31 January 2020. But until now, British citizens have enjoyed the benefits of EU law on an equal footing with their European neighbours. For example, they have been able to travel to countries in the region without a visa. The transition period was needed for the UK and the EU to work out new rules of engagement. 

The agreement will come into force with the prior approval of EU member states and the British Parliament. It must also be approved by the European Parliament in early 2021.

What will change from 1 January 2021

The terms of the agreement apply to more than just trade relations between countries. They affect the daily lives of British and EU citizens and residents. The agreement sets out rules for travel, accommodation, study and work.

The visa-free regime will only remain in place for short-term tourist trips of up to 90 days. To travel to work or study, Britons and EU citizens must obtain a visa.

The visa-free regime will only remain in place for short-term tourist trips of up to 90 days. To travel to work or study, Britons and EU citizens must obtain a visa.

There will be passport controls at the border. From 2021, British citizens can travel with a passport that expires in more than 6 months. If the passport is more than 10 years old, it cannot be used to enter the EU, even if the passport is still valid.

From 1 October 2021, there will also be a passport control for EU citizens who want to enter the UK. It will not be possible to cross the border with an ID card. We talked about the changes and exemptions in the article "UK announces new entry rules for EU residents after Brexit".

The UK is leaving the common customs area with the European Union. This means that you have to go through customs controls when crossing the border. This includes making a customs declaration when you bring in or take out goods.

Only EU citizens and residents who have been granted settler status under the special EUSS scheme will be able to stay in the UK. This has to be done by 30 June 2021. We talked about this in the article 'How to live with EU citizenship in the UK from 30 June 2021'.

British citizens also need to obtain a residence permit in an EU state to stay in the territory in 2021.

Studying at UK universities will become more expensive. From 2021, students from the European Union will pay the same tuition fees as third-country nationals. In addition they will pay around £350 for a student visa and around £470 for health insurance. European students will not be able to get a student loan from the British state.

Degrees from British universities will not automatically be recognised in the EU. This means that graduates will have to prove their qualifications if they want to work in an EU member state.

Many British banks will stop serving EU citizens and residents. From 1 January 2021, British financial institutions will lose the licence that allows them to operate across the EU. The changes will not affect institutions that have moved their headquarters or opened a subsidiary in the EU.
London's clearing organisations will remain in place for another year and a half. We covered this in the article "British banks will stop serving EU citizens from 2021".

The UK and EU will continue to share information to jointly fight crime, money laundering and terrorism.

Who will not be affected by the changes in 2021

Citizens of the European Union and third countries can obtain a UK residence permit or a Caribbean passport so they do not have to worry about visas and new conditions after Brexit.

Residency in the UK for investment is an option for those who want to relocate and run a business in the country. To gain residence status, a foreigner buys government bonds or invests in a local business from £2 million. The residence permit is issued for 3 years and 4 months and can be renewed.

A passport from one of the five Caribbean countries can be obtained for an investment from $100,000 to travel to the UK visa-free for 180 days a year. Caribbean countries with citizenship programmes are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, so their nationals receive benefits for studying at British universities.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for UK and Caribbean programmes. If you want to get a residence permit or a second passport for investment -contact the investment programmes experts.

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What will change for UK and EU citizens from 1 January 2021