Post-Brexit borders to divide EU, UK citizens - GulfToday

Post-Brexit borders to divide EU, UK citizens


A EU flag and a Union flag are seen with Big Ben in the background in central London. File/AFP

Gulf Today Report

British lawmakers approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson's post-Brexit trade deal and from January 1, 2021 UK and EU citizens will be confronted with the reality as the transition period ends and borders that were done away with decades ago return.

Both sides looked to begin a new chapter of relations just days before their divorce becomes a reality, although a deal has been struck to permit tariff-free trade across the Channel, from that date, Britons will be treated by the EU as “third country” nationals.

"Brexit is not an end but a beginning," Johnson said. "The responsibility now rests with all of us to make the best use of the powers that we regain, the tools that we've taken back into our hands."

UK-PM-Boris-JohnsonBoris Johnson signs the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU at 10 Downing Street. Leon Neal/AFP

They will no longer enjoy freedom of movement to work, study or retire across the European Union and Britain in turn will process EU nationals at its borders as it does other non-UK passport holders.

EU citizens proving residence in Britain, or Britons already living in a European Union country, will theoretically retain their rights under a Withdrawal Agreement struck in late 2019.


Tourists will see some immediate changes — apart from the fluctuating coronavirus restrictions already crimping travel — but both sides have agreed that travel will be visa-free, as long as the other side keeps it that way.

The EU will however stop British passports being used in its automated e-gates, potentially meaning longer queues at manned passport booths.

Britons must hold passports still valid for at least six months and will be limited to EU stays of 90 days in a rolling 180-day period.

UK-ParliamentMembers of the parliament attend a debate and vote on the long-awaited Brexit deal, at the House of Commons. Reuters

They will also need to show travel insurance coverage, sufficient funds and a return ticket on request.

Europeans entering Britain can use a national ID card until October, after which only passports will be accepted, for stays of up to six months.


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EU passport holders will be able to continue using British e-gates under current guidance.

Those with criminal records may be banned and non-European family members of a European may need a visa, depending on nationality.

UK-Nigel-FarageNigel Farage, speaks at a public meeting of the EU Referendum campaign in Gateshead, England. File/AFP

The EU-UK deal reached on Thursday has set out the visa requirements for business travellers, the details of which are yet to be made public.

In the EU, Britons attending conferences or meetings likely will be exempt from visas where they do not receive payment or provide services.

However, for other UK business travellers, including posted workers and the self-employed, a visa and/or a work permit may be imposed in line with each individual EU country's laws.

There will also be tax and social security considerations.

Certain services or company ownership in those countries may be off-limits to non-EU citizens or residents or those lacking national licences, and customs declarations may be needed for goods brought in.

In Britain, EU citizens with a job offer will be required to prove English-language skills and a minimum salary, depending on whether the position is skilled (26,500 pounds, equivalent to 29,600 euros or $35,000) or a shortage occupation (20,480 pounds, 22,800 euros).

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