Passport, permit, telephone … What will change on January 1 for us, European citizens

Illustration of Brexit. – Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/SIPA

  • On December 24, the United Kingdom and the European Union reached a post-Brexit agreement, narrowly avoiding a “no deal” with dramatic consequences.
  • From January 1, 2021, i.e. Friday, the United Kingdom will exit the common market, resulting in many changes, especially in trade relations.
  • And for us, European citizens, what does that change? “20 Minutes” takes stock of the practical questions you are asking yourself.

The moment has finally arrived. More than four years after the British referendum and after months of negotiations, the European Union and the United Kingdom reached an agreement, in extremis, last week. The new rules governing the post-Brexit relationship between London and Brussels are due to come into force on January 1.

If we have heard a lot about fishing, trade or how to settle future conflicts, Brexit will bring about a series of concrete changes for the French and the British. Will you be able to go to the UK with your passport? What about expatriates? Will an international license be required to drive? 20 Minutes takes stock of what will concretely change on Friday for you, European citizens.

  • What document do I need to present to cross the Franco-British border?

No more ID card when boarding the Eurostar in a few months. Until October 1, 2021, you can continue to travel with the same national identity card or your valid passport, but after this date, French people must present a passport to cross the border, explains the government on the portal dedicated to Brexit.

For visas, as a French citizen, you will not need them for a visit to the United Kingdom, if its duration does not exceed six months. This will also be the case for professional visits, training, conferences, seminars and short-term workshops. Conversely, if you go to the United Kingdom to exercise a professional activity or for a stay of more than six months, a residence permit will be compulsory.

The British will have to bring a valid passport, but also a health insurance certificate proving that all medical expenses are covered during the stay.

  • Can I drive in the UK with my French license?

A vagueness persists on this question. According to the government website, the French license should continue to be recognized in the UK after January 1. As this point is “still under negotiation”, the authorities recommend obtaining an international driving license from January 1, 2021.

  • As a French expat, can I stay in the UK?

If you are French or European and you moved to the United Kingdom before December 31, 2020, a special mechanism has been put in place to help you obtain your residency status. From January 1, a points system based on several criteria will decide whether or not you can stay: age, level of English language, level of studies … To obtain a visa valid for five years, you must have a job offer from a company licensed by the UK Home Office with a salary of over £ 26,500 (€ 22,930) per year.

  • I am a European student, can I go to the UK?

Yes, but under certain conditions. With Brexit, the UK has decided to quit the Erasmus exchange program. Bad news for the 32,000 European students who went to study across the Channel each year. For students who have already started their studies in a British institution, you can continue to follow your courses by obtaining a special status, called “pre-settled” or “settlement scheme for EU citizens”.

For those who want to start their exchange in the UK after January 1, it gets complicated. You will need to obtain a student visa (390 euros for a period exceeding 6 months, 557 euros to benefit from the public health service) under certain conditions: to be accepted in an establishment, to speak, read and understand English, and to be able to finance his stay.

  • Will my phone plan work in the UK?

Since 2017, European nationals can use their mobile and Internet plan in another EU country without being surcharged. But what about Brexit? “Orange and Bouygues Telecom have informed the Figaro that they will maintain their current commercial tariffs. On its site, Free has kept Great Britain in the list of countries at no additional cost ”,
explain our colleagues from Figaro. Regarding SFR, the mobile operator has not yet communicated its new pricing policy.

Across the Channel, the post-Brexit deal allows UK operators to apply roaming charges if they wish. But according to the BBC, the four main operators in the UK are said to have no intention of reintroducing roaming charges. Before going abroad, we can only advise you to contact your operator to avoid unpleasant surprises on your return.

  • Do I have the right to take my pet across the Channel?

If you want to take your pet to Great Britain, no immediate change. As currently, it must be chipped, vaccinated against rabies and provided with a pet passport. Please note, for dogs entering Ireland or the United Kingdom, they must be at least 3 months old and have received, between 24 and 120 hours before arrival, a treatment against parasitic worms (Echinococcus) recorded on the passport by the veterinarian who administered it.

For British animals going to the EU, it’s more complicated. They will now have to be accompanied by a health certificate to enter the European Union. This certificate of good health is valid for four months with a veterinarian, and must be made at the earliest ten days before travel. Animals will only be able to enter the EU through one of the entry points designated to allow document control. Like European animals, they will need to be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and, to enter certain countries, be treated against worms.

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