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EU-UK post-Brexit deal agreed.

Yesterday it was announced that UK and EU has agreed on a deal for their future relations. The deal has been ratified by the UK and temporarily ratified by the EU.

For non-Europeans, many of the details are not interesting, but there are few things you probably should be aware of if you are in the process of planning a trip:

  • GB will leave the customs union and single market, so no more blue lanes at UK airports. And limits on how much goods you can bring between GB and EU. Should not have a huge impact though.
  • There will be some kind of customs checks on Eurostar. For more information, see their Brexit FAQ.
  • Northern Ireland will stay in the single market so Irish border will remain open, but there will be some kind of checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
  • EU rules on no-cost roaming will not apply to the UK. So UK phone companies can introduce roaming charges for EU countries and v.v. If they will do so is a good question, but if you have a European phone number I can be a good idea to check what your operator says about charges.
  • European passenger rights legislation will no longer apply to the UK (the so called EU261 rules for air passenger rights and equivalent rules for other modes of transport). If I'm not mistaken UK has made them part of UK law, but we will see if they are changed. And how the UK supreme court interpret them.
  • UK will leave the European Common Aviation Area, so UK airlines will no longer be allowed to carry passengers within the area.
  • It seems likely that Gibraltar will join Schengen, so don't count on Gibraltar for time outside the Schengen area.
  • Great Britain is now a third country when it comes to food standards so when it comes to bringing food from GB to EU, the rules are the same as other non-EU countries. You may not bring any meat, egg, or dairy products from GB and many plants and fruit and vegetables are banned as well. (I.e. if you buy a cheese sandwich in London before boarding the Eurostar, you need to eat it on the train because you are not allowed to bring it to Paris.)
  • In the other direction you are still allowed to bring both meat, dairy, and fruit from the EU to GB. Although it has been announced that the rules for plants and plant products will change with checks to be introduced.

These are the impacts it could have for non-Europeans that I have found, but I have only read summaries of the deal so far and there might be other things. In addition there are many things that might change, such as currency fluctuations and staff shortages in certain areas having impacts on different things. But here I've tried to focus on how the rules will change, to help you avoid getting in trouble.

And if you want to debate whether Brexit is a good idea or not, please do it somewhere else. This post is only intended to inform people about what effect it will have.

Edits:
2021-01-01: Updated information on the SM/CU, Gibraltar and the ratification. 2021-01-10: Added information crossing on bringing food across the border.

Posted by
1112 posts

Thank you Badger for keeping us informed and stating what the tourist impact may be. As you learn more we will appreciate updates.

Posted by
649 posts

Badger -

I’ve only checked the summary document but are you certain about your final point? The summary reading suggests that as far as airlines go - U.K. to EU, EU to U.K., it’s pretty much ‘as you were’ regardless of where the airline is owned (U.K. or EU - I”m assuming airlines outside, I.e. USA, Canada, Australia, etc., already have existing agreements). But if you know different where can this info be accessed? - the devil, as somebody else noted, is in the detail and from what I’ve read, there’s more detail than agreement!

Posted by
1577 posts

I’ve only checked the summary document but are you certain about your
final point? The summary reading suggests that as far as airlines go -
U.K. to EU, EU to U.K., it’s pretty much ‘as you were’

As I've understood it, UK to EU and vice versa will not be affected, it will continue as before. But UK airlines will not be allowed to carry passengers EU to EU.

Posted by
2643 posts

So I'm thinking this means that now I go through Passport control in the UK (as I stay overnight) and then again in my final destination. Not horrible, but a slight delay, I suspect.

Posted by
1577 posts

So I'm thinking this means that now I go through Passport control in
the UK (as I stay overnight) and then again in my final destination.
Not horrible, but a slight delay, I suspect.

That should not be any different from the current situation since the UK has never been in Schengen.

Posted by
649 posts

Badger - ah yes, I see what you were driving at now. I suspect that many ‘U.K.’ airlines are now HQ’d in Europe anyway. Jet2 seems to be mostly U.K. to EU and vice versa, so don’t think they’ll be adversely effected by this. Can’t think of many others that might be up in arms about the agreement.

Emma - have a great Christmas dinner! But hard back at it tomorrow - I suspect we may be looking to you as the authoritative voice on this agreement for quite some time! And I further think you are right - they’ll be negotiating bits and pieces on this long after ‘taking back control’ has ceased to be any sort of issue of concern for many of us. Still, May swell job opportunities in the Civil Service I suppose. Merry Christmas!

Posted by
1577 posts

I suspect that many ‘U.K.’ airlines are now HQ’d in Europe anyway.
Jet2 seems to be mostly U.K. to EU and vice versa, so don’t think
they’ll be adversely effected by this. Can’t think of many others that
might be up in arms about the agreement.

I don't think the location of the HQ is important, but rather where the AOC is issued. This could have been an issue for Easyjet but they have moved a lot of their business to Austria to stay in the EU so they should be safe. I also think that this applies to connecting journeys, meaning that British Airways would not be allowed to sell a ticket Dublin-Hamburg via London.

A question I haven't been able to answer is if any kind of EU food standards will apply to the UK or if it will be treated as a non-EU country, meaning strict restrictions on the kinds of food you are allowed to bring from the UK to the EU.

Posted by
6992 posts

What happened with the Irish border? What impact for tourists/travelers from 'outside' ( e.g., the US ) countries?

Posted by
4162 posts

As a U.K. based airline, if not permitted to fly EU to EU destinations, the seemingly ubiquitous easyJet would appear to be looking at severely reduced flights.

Posted by
649 posts

Cyn - As Badger noted, EasyJet are European, not U.K. based and have been for a while, which is why I referenced Jet2 who, as far as I know, are UK based.

Apparently our food standards will comply with the EU requirements and the intention is to make them superior to EU standards, but if I read the relevant Twitter feed right, exactly when is will be is the $64,000 dollar question as no time frame has been set.

The more I see of the agreement the more right I believe Emma is - we’ll be negotiating the fine detail for decades.

It occurred to me the other day, that a deal was necessary because without one incoming President Biden was not kindly disposed to doing any sort of trade deal with the U.K., (he may even have given Johnson the ‘hard word’ in private) which is something Brexiteers seem to have set great store by.

Only time will tell but I’m pretty sure that this deal will a) please absolutely nobody if they are honest and b) not become entirely clear in its ramifications for a very long time.

Posted by
1577 posts

What happened with the Irish border? What impact for
tourists/travelers from 'outside' ( e.g., the US ) countries?

The customs border will be in the Irish sea, I'm not sure what kind of impact (if any) that will have for US tourists.

Posted by
24641 posts

snorkel issue and fins for people accompanying goods? Green water door for nothing to declare? Red water for something to declare?

Or privatise and hire the snorkels and fins rather than lend?

Posted by
6992 posts

Or privatise and hire the snorkels and fins rather than lend?

If something like Ryanair or easyjet gets the contract, one will have to buy them!

The customs border will be in the Irish sea, I'm not sure what kind of impact (if any) that will have for US tourists.

So all air service will be by float planes to accommodate the stop? Decidedly better than snorkel and fins!

Posted by
9074 posts

If I'm reading this deal correctly, it will have very little effect on the North American tourist to either the UK or to the EU/Schengen.

Immigration lines may now be longer. But the rules of travel for us seem to be the same.

Posted by
1577 posts

True, most parts of the deal will have close to no effect on North American tourists. But there are some things that will change.

Posted by
2643 posts

That should not be any different from the current situation since the UK has never been in Schengen.

Badger, the only involved passport control that I recall was at Heathrow. I've switched to other EU locations many times in the past decade, breezing out through my EU arrival country. It has been a while now due to C-19 and I am getting older...have I wiped it from my memory? LOL

Posted by
1577 posts

@Wray: You must have forgotten about it. Not that I blame you, passport checks are hardly the most memorable part of a vacation. But if you travel from the UK to a Schengen country, you will pass through an immigration check. If you use the Eurostar, that is handled at St Pancras station in London, if travelling by plane or boat it is done at your arrival (air)port.

Posted by
4162 posts

ianandjulie, I hadn’t seen Badger mention easyJet in this thread, but I’d thought they were thoroughly a U.K. business, although operating a lot of EU to EU flights. Looking at Wikipedia, it says:

EasyJet is thus a pan-European airline group with three airlines based in the UK, Austria and Switzerland (EasyJet UK, EasyJet Europe, and EasyJet Switzerland), all owned or part-owned by EasyJet plc, based in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange

So based in the UK, but maybe not solely a U.K. company, they (or the affiliates) could avoid flight restrictions under the new rules. So how about British Airways? Are they affected at all? Or maybe there’s a code-share loophole with partner airlines in the OneWorld alliance. “OneWorld” - the name alone suggests there’s nobody flying totally by themselves.

Posted by
1577 posts

I think British Airways, as a UK airline, will be affected as they will not be allowed to sell tickets for intraeuropean flights with a connection in London (unless the final destination or departure is in the UK or in a non-EEA country).

Edit: The treaty says Nothing in this Title shall be deemed to confer on the United Kingdom the right for its air carriers to take on board in the territory of a Member State passengers, baggage, cargo or mail carried for compensation and destined for another point in the territory of that Member State or any other Member State.

Posted by
9074 posts

There may be one effect of Brexit for the North American tourist that is indirect;

Many of the people workin in the hospitality industry in the UK are from outside the UK. (Mostly EU.) They work for low wages and there has always been a large group to choose from as new people were always coming over. If this is lessened due to new rules, the cost of hiring people may go up. If that goes up, so will the cost to tourists. They'll pay more in hotels, restaurants, pubs, etc.

Posted by
17881 posts

This short BBC.com article discusses changes being made by several airlines that limit participation of UK (and other non-EU) shareholders in order to avoid "any risk to the airline licenses". Measures being taken include abrogation of voting rights and prohibitions on attending / taking part in general meetings. Airlines mentioned are RyanAir, WizzAir and EasyJet. It sounds as if EasyJet is just "restricting voting rights for some shareholders".

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55475723

Posted by
4162 posts

Our flight booking selections have generally not worried about who was doing the flying, as long as the price was right, and there was confidence they’d get us there promptly, safely, and reasonably comfortably. Often that’s been on an airline that seemed to be British-related on some level, but perhaps that often wasn’t legally the case.

And perhaps the choices and prices will be different going forward. In the meantime, it sounds like some airlines have some scrambling to do. Departures have consequences?

Posted by
647 posts

This is a reminder to keep this thread narrowly focused on how Brexit affects travel. We've already removed many replies. Thanks everyone!

Posted by
6056 posts

Informing people that the cost of their trips eg hotel accommodation, food prices etc are almost certain to increase due to the impact of Brexit IS travel related and explaining why, when it is based on actual facts, is NOT political! But let’s keep people Ill informed rather than even risk the “P” word........

Posted by
4213 posts

I don't see any particular impact on US and Canadian travellers to the UK as a result of Brexit.

The airlines haven't been resting on their laurels during the negotiation period and they've made sure that they will be able to maintain their intra-European flights.

Food prices are unlikely to rise to any level that will be noticeable. The seasonal workers scheme has been extended into 2021 so any concerns about shortages of workers for seasonal fruit and vegetable picking should be alleviated. The UK can also conduct its own trade agreements with other countries which could result in some food prices being cheaper.

I don't see how Brexit will impact on hotel prices. If anything, due to the pandemic, prices are likely to be quite competitive. Some may argue that many of the cleaning staff are foreign workers and therefore they will not be able to travel and work freely in the UK however most of the staff in this industry are not transient workers, the majority live in the UK and in those areas where there is a low migrant population the staff are comprised mainly of British workers.

Lines at passport control are likely to increase however US and Canadian citizens have access to the e-passport gates which dramatically reduces the length of time it takes to pass through immigration (when they work).

If there is one thing that will affect North American visitors and that's the value of the £, in which case it'll currently be in their favour.

Posted by
4213 posts

EU rules on no-cost roaming will not apply to the UK. So UK phone companies can introduce roaming charges for EU countries and v.v. If they will do so is a good question, but if you have a European phone number I can be a good idea to check what your operator says about charges.

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have all confirmed that they will not introduce roaming charges for UK customers when travelling within the EU.

Posted by
24641 posts

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have all confirmed that they will not introduce roaming charges for UK customers when travelling within the EU.

That's handy. I spent over an hour on-line with O2 yesterday trying to work that out. The website is useless, the robot is even worse, and after 10 minutes making my way through the phone menus (I am a customer) it said if I wasn't reporting a lost or stolen phone to look on the website. Big circle. Then it curtly said goodbye and hung up. grrrr

Posted by
6056 posts

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have all confirmed that they will not
introduce roaming charges for UK customers when travelling within the
EU.

For now.......L'm not saying they will increase the charges, and certainly not in the immediate future, but this is a business decision and a commitment that could very easily be eroded over time.

Posted by
4213 posts

Could be or could not but for the time being there are no roaming charges and no plans or suggestions to change it or any of their non EU charge free roaming.

No point hypothesising what could or couldn't happen in the future, these are the facts now and what affects travellers currently.

The EU Commission has also confirmed that UK drivers do not require International Driver Permits to drive in the EU. Another sensible decision in ensuring a smooth Brexit transition.

Posted by
4213 posts

Considering Three don't charge me roaming fees for 71 countries and haven't done so for some time I don't see why they should suddenly decide to charge fees for the EU.

As for the 90 day rule, unless you have another home in the EU then it's highly unlikely to have an impact. If you do want to spend so long in your other home then it's simple enough to apply for a residency visa. In all my years of travelling throughout Europe I've never needed to spend anywhere near 90 days there whether that's within a 180 day period or a 365 day period and that would be the same for the vast majority of UK citizens.

It's also been confirmed that reciprocal health agreements will remain in place which can only ever be considered a positive.

Nothing's really changed for UK travellers to the EU and there will be pretty much zero impact on North American travellers wishing to travel into the EU from the UK which is essentially what this thread is intended to convey.

Posted by
1577 posts

Dear brits, I understand that you have strong feelings about whether leaving the EU is a good idea or not. I probably would have as well if I was British.

But, the facts are that the UK has now left the EU and the transition period, so can we please focus on the impacts of Brexit for non-european tourists? You can use the message function if you want to debate the advantages and drawbacks.

(I have also updated the thread start a bit.)

Posted by
24641 posts

my crystal ball is cloudy so it may impact foreign tourists more or it may be easier, but my anticipation, in the amount of detail requested by Badger is:

added congestion at airports, seaports and the tunnel, and the approaches to seaports and the tunnel because there will now be delays to most of the passengers or drivers who need detailed passport and customs checks - so everybody, tourists included will lose time

higher meal prices because food will be higher, and in some cases if farm labourers don't come to the UK (or aren't allowed to because their income is not high enough), there will be food shortages of certain vegetables and fruits. Many British refuse such work.

higher hotel costs in many hotels because for the last many years most of the jobs in hotels from the laundry to the front desk have been filled by Europeans who will work quite hard for relatively low wages. Now that the government has put barriers to immigration based in large part on qualifications and income, many have said that they will not return, especially Polish. Invariably higher wages will have to be paid, if they can get the staff as many British refuse such work. This is not counting the numbers of hotels which will not reopen at all because of the plague, so it may be hard to apportion what part of higher prices is recovery from plague inflation and what is down to fewer more expensive staff

The price of attractions and theatre will likely rise although again it may be difficult to apportion what proportion is plague related, what proportion is staff related, and what proportion is people raising prices because people expect them to

Those therefore are the areas that I expect impact on foreign tourists - ports, food, hotels, entertainment.

Posted by
4213 posts

Hotel workers in the UK aren't transient workers such as those who travel seasonally to work on farms, they typically live in the UK. They are paid the minimum wage irrespective of their nationality. In areas that don't have a high migrant population the staff are mostly British which negates the claim that British people are unwilling to undertake the work. The same can be said for farm labour and this was evident last year when schemes were introduced to encourage British people to apply to work on farms. Many applied but were turned down by the farm owners because they were not willing to reside in accommodation provided on site by the farm owners (and pay a high rate for it). It appeared the farm owners wanted cheap labour and to make money by insisting the staff stayed in their accommodation.

In summary, without the pool of migrant workers prices for hotels and food will not be guaranteed to rise as vacancies will be filled by locals.

Posted by
24641 posts

as I said, JC, my crystal ball is cloudy. Yours may be much clearer.

Let's look back at this thread in a year and see what tourists have reported....

Posted by
842 posts

Let's look back at this thread in a year and see what tourists have reported....

One of the times I wish this forum had a "Like" button.

Posted by
7202 posts

I'm so sorry about the withdrawal from the Erasmus Program. That is so sad for university students who wanted to study abroad and others who wanted to study in Great Britain. Guess there will be rooms for rent in l'Auberge Espagnole.

Posted by
4213 posts

The Erasmus scheme has been replaced with the new Turing scheme which is open to students from beyond the EU and focuses more on students from poorer backgrounds. It means that there is more opportunity for students outside of the EU and for British students who wish to study outside the EU.

Posted by
6056 posts

Any crystal ball is going to need to look a lot further out than one year. Many of the impacts of changes from Brexit won’t start having a real effect until a couple of years down the line and this includes impacts on non-European visitors. From what I can see the real impact of Brexit will start and coincide with many people’s plans to start travelling again in 2022 and be further complicated by the long term effects of Covid on the economy. Good Luck folks!

The Brexit deal is hugely flawed and full of stop gap solutions stuck in to get it signed off with very little thought to how or when the real long term workable solutions will be in place. I understand why “ just get it signed” was the final approach but it doesn’t mean it is workable in its present form. We have years ( decades?) of negotiations ahead of us which represent a huge waste of time and effort for all involved.

At present, and for the short to medium future things will “work” in many sectors because of stop gap solutions dependent on the good will of seriously tired staff. This cannot go on for ever.

I have been working on Brexit since before the vote was even announced, ( with a slight hiatus when the government told us to stop working in it because “ it wasn’t going to happen and planning for if it does will just encourage people to vote for it”. Dazzling thinking there!).
This morning I started work and it had finally happened, UK access to a range of European policing and intelligence sharing systems was gone. I knew it was coming but I still felt sick. This is not the place for me to go into the “whys and wherefores” of this but these changes are significant and definitely have the potential to impact on travel.

Posted by
4213 posts

Another benefit announced today is the proposal to increase the contactless payment limit from £45 to £100. Prior to Brexit the European Commission imposed the limits and every EU country had to follow suit. Now the UK is free to impose its own limits and the £100 limit has been put forward for approval by the Financial Conduct Authority.

I know that contactless payment cards are not in great circulation in the US however within Europe they are very much the standard so European visitors might soon be able to enjoy greater flexibility with their payment options.

Posted by
4507 posts

The contactless limits from the EU directive was enacted for consumer protection. It required banks to undertake a strong customer authentication on payments after a maximum number of transactions (5) or after a cumulative transaction of €100. The maximum in a single transaction could be €50. A strong authentication in this case for cards is a PIN. Contactless transactions via Apple/Google/Samsung Pay etc are not affected as they incorporate their own methods of strong authentication.

In practice until March 2020 all countries relevant national banking organisations set their own limit some way below the €50 - the UK one of £30 was towards the top end, but still somewhat below €50. These levels were set through worries of fraud and inconvenience of people who had the misfortune to lose a card or have it stolen.

Nearly all have raised their limit in the last year, mainly to the maximum €50 level or equivalent and some countries a little under this.

If British Banks are now willing to carry a much heavier cost of fraud I'd expect the customer or the merchant will end up being the one to pay for this in the end.

Posted by
4213 posts

If British Banks are now willing to carry a much heavier cost of fraud I'd expect the customer or the merchant will end up being the one to pay for this in the end.

British banks have realised that the levels of contactless fraud are so low that the benefits to their customers far outweigh the risks.

Posted by
4507 posts

Have you had your card misused in a series of contactless transactions? You get the money back in the end but it is a real pain whilst it is going on, although offline transactions are less common now which made it more difficult to stop. Of course people who do this tend to know where they can hit it quickly and easily.

Personally I pay via phone these days.