Brexit

Overview

The UK has left the EU and there is now a transition period until the end of 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements.

The current rules on trade, travel and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply during the transition period. Any new rules will take effect on 1 January 2021.

If you are currently based in an EU country or Sovereign Base Area (including Gibraltar), or you, as an Army spouse or partner, are an EU national, take a look at the latest information and useful links below to find out more. In the meantime, if you have a specific, immigration-related enquiry, contact our Foreign & Commonwealth team.

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

Contents

01   Passports

Most EU countries already require you to have six months validity on your passport from the day of your arrival, and at least one blank page. This is likely to remain a requirement after 1 Jan 2021. You should continue to ensure your passport will be valid for travel after the UK leaves the EU using the passport checker on the gov.uk website.

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02   Driving

From 31 Dec 2020 you may need the following to drive legally in an EU country:

  • An International Driving Permit from a UK Post Office or Forces Post Office that sells them, if required by the country you will be driving in. Click here for details of which International Driving Permit you will need for each country. Further information is provided in the relevant DIN. Service personnel and UK Civil Servants who require an International Driving Permit in connection with their duties can reclaim the cost via JPA or HRMS.
  • A ‘green card’ (or multiple green cards) demonstrating proof of insurance for your vehicle(s).
  • A GB sticker for your car, even if you have a GB identifier on your number plate.

 

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03   Tax-free goods and vehicles

From 1 Jan 2021, the rules on the movement of personal effects and motor vehicles to the UK from the EU may change. These changes will bring the rules governing transfer of vehicles and personal effects from EU countries into line with those covering non-EU countries.

In this situation any personal effects or vehicles that you return to the UK after EU Exit, that you were previously able to purchase and return to the UK without having to pay customs duty or import VAT, may need to meet the criteria for Transfer of Residence relief.

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04   Kindergeld

For those personnel in Germany, if you are leaving Germany before 31 Dec 2020 you will need to cancel your Kindergeld payments or you will be liable to repay any payments you received after you left Germany.

If you are staying in Germany beyond the end of 2020, it is likely that your Kindergeld payments will cease on 31 Dec 2020.

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05   European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

The EHIC might not be valid from 1 Jan 2021. If you are posted overseas, there will be local arrangements for health care for you and your family in place. However, if you travel on holiday to another European country or, in some cases, elsewhere in the country to which you are posted, these arrangements are not likely to cover you. You should seek advice from the admin unit at your posting.

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06   Travelling with pets

The processes for travelling between the UK from the EU with pets will change from 1 Jan 2021. How they will change depends on whether the UK is treated as a listed or unlisted country. If the UK is treated as an unlisted country, your pet will need to be microchipped, vaccinated and tested for rabies before it can travel. Be aware that this process can take over four months.

If the UK becomes a listed country, you will still need check what documents are required for travel, and it may take some time to arrange the correct paperwork for your pet, so the government is recommending that you check the relevant page of its website regularly.

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07   Military allowances

Are you posted overseas and have concerns about Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) and exchange rates as a result of Brexit? The purpose of the allowance is to contribute to the difference between the cost of living in the UK and your overseas location. The Defence Business Service (DBS) and the Pay Colonel’s staff calculate LOA rates during overseas visits; the rates are regularly reviewed, meaning you should not be out of pocket because of your posting.

DBS tracks the value of the pound to see if a change to the Forces Fixed Rate (FFR) of exchange is necessary; any changes are published on the first of each month. If the FFR is reduced, the LOA you receive will increase, as more Sterling is needed to buy the same goods than before. However, if the FFR is increased, the LOA you receive will reduce, as less Sterling is needed to buy the same goods as before.

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08   Immigration and the EU

After Brexit, the rules that allow EU, EEA and Swiss nationals to live in the UK will change. Take a look at Foreign & Commonwealth – Brexit to help you and your family prepare for these changes.

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09   Privately-owned weapons

From 1 Jan 2021, you will need to follow UK import/export rules and the licensing rules of individual EU countries if you are travelling with a privately-owned firearm or shotgun.

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10   Free roaming for mobile phones

Free roaming services across the EU may end on 31 Dec 2021.

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