Brexit - EU Transition

Please check our COVID-19 section for up-to-date information, as the coronavirus outbreak may affect the advice given on this page.

The information below is correct as of 1 December 2020

The UK has left the EU and the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

Use this link to check what you must do in the country where you live.

NB: This clearly states what the changes will mean to UK expats in a certain EU country. It should be noted that not all of these changes affect UK Armed Forces personnel and their dependants.

UK Armed Forces personnel and their dependants assigned to Europe may have some protection under various Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) and individual Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) so it is important that you check out your individual circumstances against your local Chain of Command’s advice.

Dedicated resources for Armed Forces personnel include:

With so many aspects still under negotiation AFF advises that families also sign up to official UK updates and review advice.

The key things to check in the lead-up to 1 January 2021 include:

Passport – on the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to have at least six months left and be less than ten years old. You will also need travel insurance that covers your healthcare – the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will only be valid up to 31 December 2020.

Driving documents – you may need an International Driving Permit to drive in some countries. (Service personnel who require an IDP in connection with their duties can reclaim the cost via JPA or HRMS. Family members are not able to reclaim the cost of International Driving Permits. Further specific country info is available in 2019-DIN01-034).

You may also require documentation to confirm proof of vehicle insurance such as an internationally recognised green card (or multiple green cards) if you have several vehicles. You should also check with your own insurance provider for the necessary documentation required for travel to the UK after the transition period has ended. You may also need a GB sticker for your car, even if you have a GB identifier on your number plate.

Pet travel – you may not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. Allow four months to follow a different process.

Border administration – when planning travel be prepared for this to take longer – you may have to show your return ticket or onward ticket; and that you have sufficient money for your stay.

Mobile phone roaming – the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming will end.

UK bank accounts – some customers may be affected if they use a European Economic Area address. Contact your UK bank and provide a BFPO address.

Purchasing goods from the UK – there may be additional charges such as import duty on goods, so check with your supplier before you place an order to ensure you are not charged UK VAT.

Sending and receiving mail via BFPO – check for guidance.

Running a business from an overseas assignment – you may need to make a customs declaration if you take goods to sell abroad or use for business.

Kindergeld (British Army Germany) – Post-transition negotiations are still continuing, which may have an effect on German Kindergeld payments after 31 December 2020. You are advised to review for future updates.

Visas – short visits to other countries – UK nationals generally won’t need a visa on a short trip to most EU countries. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Non-UK nationals may require additional visas even if assigned overseas with the Armed Forces.

Visas – assignments and living in other countries – you may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel. All non-UK nationals should seek advice from their chain of command on receipt of an overseas assignment.

EU settlement scheme – the rule that allows EU, EEA and Swiss nationals to live in the UK will change. You are strongly advised to seek advice on dependants’ immigration status in the UK. Any Army family requiring advice on the EU settlement scheme should contact AFF’s F&C specialists – or see the Brexit -F&C page.



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