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BREXIT

Brexit planning: What you’ll need to do if there’s no deal

The British government released another 28 "technical notices" on Thursday to help UK citizens prepare for life in the event that UK crashes out of Europe without reaching a deal with Brussels. Here's what you need to be prepared for.

Brexit planning: What you'll need to do if there's no deal
Be prepared: Your driving licence could invalid and your passport out of date. Photo: Deposit photos

The 28 technical notices were published on Thursday afternoon after a long meeting between British Prime Minister Theresa May and her cabinet to discuss Brexit.

The government insists it is still likely to reach a deal with Brussels that will allow for most things – including the rules around driving licences and passports, to continue as they were before.

Nevertheless it feels as though “it has a duty to prepare for all eventualities” including a no-deal Brexit.

Given the increasingly fraught nature of the talks with Brussels and that time is rapidly running out to reach a deal the prospect of the UK crashing out of the EU without an agreement appears more and likely, despite what the government says.

The government has already released technical papers warning Brits in the EU they could lose access to their UK bank accounts and face higher credit card charges.

Here's what the government is warning its citizens when it comes to three key areas: driving licences, passports and mobile phone roaming charges.

And the prospect that driving licences won't be valid, passports could be considered out of date and phone charges could soar have not gone down well in some quarters.

The information below is taken from the so-called “technical notices” released on Thursday.

Risk assessment: Driving in the EU

(AFP)



Before 29 March 2019



Your driving licence is valid in the EU. As long as you hold a UK licence, you can drive for both work and leisure purposes throughout the EU without other documents.

If you move to another EU country to live you can exchange UK licences issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) or the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland, for a driving licence from your new home country.

You do not need to re-sit your driving test.



After March 2019 if there's no deal



Your driving licence may no longer be valid by itself when driving in the EU.

If you move to another EU country to live, you may not be able to exchange your licence after the UK has left the EU.



What you would need to do



If there is no deal with the EU, you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the EU. An IDP is a document which when carried with your driving licence means you would be able to drive outside of the UK including in EU countries. There are different types of IDP. Which one you need depends on which country you are driving in.

Obtaining an IDP

The IDP will cost £5.50.

You can currently get the 1949 type IDP over the counter at around 90 Post Offices or by mail order from two private companies. This mail order service will cease on January 31st, 2019.

From February 1st, 2019, the government will begin providing IDPs. From this date, you will be able to apply for both 1949 and 1968 types of IDP at 2,500 Post Offices across the UK.

Visiting the EU



After March 2019, if you visit and drive in an EU country, for example on holiday, you would need both:

  • your UK driving licence
  • the appropriate IDP

You would need both types of IDP if you are visiting EU countries covered by different conventions, for example France and Spain.



Moving to or living in the EU


If, after exit day, you become resident in an EU country you would not have the automatic right under EU law to exchange your UK licence for a driving licence from the EU country you're living in. Depending on the laws of the EU country you move to, you may need to take a new driving test in that country.

You can avoid this by exchanging your UK driving licence for one from the EU country you move to or live in before March 29th, 2019. UK licence holders who do this, will be able to re-exchange for a UK licence if they return to live in the UK.



Negotiations


We will be seeking to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with the EU to cover the continued recognition and exchange of UK licences after exit.

In the event that we do not achieve a comprehensive agreement, we will also pursue agreements with individual EU countries.

CLICK HERE for more info

Risk Assessment: Mobile roaming charges

After March 2019 if there's a deal

In the likely event of a deal, surcharge-free roaming would continue to be guaranteed during the Implementation Period. Following the Implementation Period the arrangements for roaming, including surcharges, would depend on the outcome of the negotiations on the Future Economic Partnership.

After March 2019 if there's NO deal

In the unlikely event that we leave the EU without a deal, the costs that EU mobile operators would be able to charge UK operators for providing roaming services would no longer be regulated after March 2019. This would mean that surcharge-free roaming when you travel to the EU could no longer be guaranteed.

However, the government would legislate to ensure that the requirements on mobile operators to apply a financial limit on mobile data usage while abroad is retained in UK law.

The limit would be set at £45 per monthly billing period, as at present (currently €50 under EU law). The government would also legislate, subject to parliamentary approval, to ensure the alerts at 80 percent and 100 percent data usage continue.

Leaving without a deal would not prevent UK mobile operators making and honouring commercial arrangements with mobile operators in the EU – and beyond the EU – to deliver the services their customers expect, including roaming arrangements.

The availability and pricing of mobile roaming in the EU would be a commercial question for the mobile operators. As a consequence, surcharge-free mobile roaming in the EU may not continue to be standard across every mobile phone package from that point. 

In the unlikely event that we leave the EU without a deal, our advice to consumers is to:

  • check the roaming policies of your mobile operator before you go abroad
  • consider what your operator is saying about surcharge-free roaming post-EU exit
  • check your operator's terms and conditions in detail – particularly if you are a heavy user of mobile services in the EU
  • be aware of your rights to change mobile operator (“switching”)

CLICK HERE for more info

Risk Assessment: Passport rules for travel to the EU

Rules for passports

The rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the European Union (EU) with no deal.

If there's no deal:

If you plan to travel to the Schengen area after March 29th 2019, to avoid any possibility of your adult British passport not complying with the Schengen Border Code we suggest that you check the issue date and make sure your passport is no older than nine years and six months on the day of travel.

For example, if you're planning to travel to the Schengen area on March 30th, 2019, your passport should have an issue date on or after October 1st, 2009.

If your passport does not meet these criteria, you may be denied entry to any of the Schengen area countries, and you should renew your passport before you travel.

After March 29th 2019:

You should have six months left on your passport from your date of arrival. This applies to adult and child passports.

If you renewed a 10 year adult passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport's expiry date. These extra months will not count.

The new rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.

Check a passport for travel to Europe

Before booking travel, check your adult and child passports meet the new rules.

CLICK HERE for more info

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BREXIT

Brexit Brits in EU feel European and don’t want to return home, survey reveals

The majority of Britons who live in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland and are protected under the Brexit agreement feel European and intend to remain in Europe permanently, but many have concerns about travel problems, a new survey reveals.

Brexit Brits in EU feel European and don't want to return home, survey reveals

The research also shows that problems exist and “travel is where most issues relating to the new status currently occur”. For instance, border officials are still stamping passports of UK citizens with residence rights under the EU UK withdrawal agreement, even though they shouldn’t.

“There is constant confusion around passport stamping. I was ‘stamped in’ to France on a short trip… but could not find anyway to be ‘stamped out’ again. I think I can only spend 90 days in other EU countries, but have no idea how anyone can check or enforce that – until someone decides to try. It’s a mess,” was one of the answers left in an open question.

“Every time I go through a Schengen border control, I need to provide both my passport and Aufenthaltstitel card [resident permit in Germany] and watch to check that they don’t stamp my passport. As I am currently travelling a lot that’s been 20-odd times this year…” another respondent said.

The survey was carried out by Professor Tanja Bueltmann, historian of migration and diaspora at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, between October and November 2022. About 1,139 UK citizens replied.

Of these, 80 per cent found acquiring their new status easy or very easy, 60.7 per cent feel their rights are secure, while 39.3 per cent have concerns about their status going forward.

Staying permanently

More than three quarters (76.6 per cent) of respondents said they plan to live permanently in the EU or the other countries of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. In fact, 65.7 per cent said that Brexit has increased the likelihood of this choice.

For some, the decision is linked to the difficulty to bring non-British family members to the UK under new, stricter immigration rules.

“My German wife and I decided we no longer wanted to live in UK post Brexit referendum. In particular, we were affected by the impact of immigration law […] We cannot now return to UK on retirement as I cannot sponsor her on my pension. We knew it was a one-way journey. Fortunately, I could revive an application for German citizenship,” was a testimony.

“My husband is a US citizen and getting him a visa for the UK was near impossible due to my low income as a freelance journalist. We realized under EU law, moving to an EU country was easier. We settled on Austria as we had both lived there before… we could speak some German, and we like the mountains,” said another respondent.

Professor Bueltmann noted that the loss of free movement rights in the EU could be a factor too in the decision of many to stay where they are.

Citizenship and representation

Among those who decided to stay, 38.2 per cent are either applying or planning to apply for a citizenship and 28.6 per cent are thinking about it.

A key finding of the research, Bueltmann said, is that the vast majority of British citizens do not feel politically represented. Some 60 per cent of respondents said they feel unrepresented and another 30 per cent not well represented.

Another issue is that less than half (47.5 per cent) trust the government of their country of residence, while a larger proportion (62 per cent) trust the European Union. Almost all (95.6 per cent) said they do not trust the UK government.

Feeling European

The survey highlights the Brexit impacts on people’s identity too. 82.6 per cent of respondents said they see themselves as European, a higher proportion than those identifying as British (68.9 per cent).

“Brexit has really left me unsure of what my identity is. I don’t feel British, and I certainly don’t identify with the mindset of a lot of British people who live there. Yet, I am not Danish either. So, I don’t really know anymore!” said one of the participants in the survey.

Professor Bueltmann said the survey “demonstrates that Brexit impacts continue to evolve: this didn’t just stop because the transition period was over or a deadline for an application had been reached. Consequently, Brexit continues to shape the lives and experiences of British citizens in the EU/EEA and Switzerland in substantial, sometimes life-altering, ways.”

Considering the results of the study, Professor Bueltmann recommends policy makers in the EU and the UK to address the issue of lack of representation, for instance creating a joint UK-EU citizens’ stakeholder forum.

The report also recommends the UK government to rebuild trust with British citizens in the EU introducing voting rights for life and changing immigration rules to allow British-European families to return more easily. 

This article was prepared in cooperation with Europe Street News.

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