A practical guide to prepare for Brexit
WHILE the UK officially left the EU last January, until now the repercussions of Brexit on ordinary people's everyday lives has been limited. But with the transition period ending on December 31 things will start to noticeably change.
With the north of the island of Ireland remaining in the UK and the south remaining in the EU, our island faces unique challenges as people travel between the two jurisdictions.
1 Driving in the EU after the transition period ends
• If you hold a UK or Northern Irish driving licence, you will need to bring this with you on any journeys you make into the EU, which includes travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
• You will need to carry a motor insurance green card when driving in the EU. This will be proof of insurance for you and your vehicle, caravan or trailer. You will need to contact your insurance provider to obtain a green card which can take up to one month.
• You should also take your vehicle log book (V5C) with you.
• If you are involved in an RTA in the EU, you should seek legal advice.
2 Holidays/trips to the EU
When ‘normal' travel business resumes after the pandemic a little more planning will be required for trips to the EU:
• If you intend to travel on a UK passport, you must have at least six months left on your passport (except for when you are travelling from the UK to Ireland as this is part of a Common Travel Area).
• You will need to make sure your travel insurance has health cover as European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid as things stand. EU citizens (including Irish passport holders) living in the UK will be able to continue using their EHIC cards when they travel to countries in the EU.
• If you are travelling on a UK passport, you will have to stand in a different queue at borders. You should be prepared to show your return tickets and have proof you have enough money for your stay.
3 EU Settlement Scheme
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after June 2021. Importantly, you can also apply if you are the family member of an eligible person living in Northern Ireland (refer to the www.gov.uk website for criteria on who is an eligible person in Northern Ireland).
• Applications are now open, and you can apply free to the scheme via the www.gov.uk website
• To be eligible to apply, you must have started living in the UK by December 31 2020.
What does it mean if your application to the scheme is successful? Firstly, you will be able to continue living and working in the UK after June 30 next. Secondly, you will then be given either settled or pre-settled status. If your application is successful, you will have your status allocated for you and it will be assigned based on how long you have been living in the UK.
Brexit clearly presents certain challenges to our society. But if we take steps to prepare for the changes, these can be overcome and will allow for a smooth transition.
:: Chris Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org) is managing partner at McKees (www.mckees-law.com), specialising in commercial disputes and helping clients avoid disputes where possible