Britain and the European Union agreed Thursday on new Brexit trading arrangements more than four years after the U.K. voted to leave the bloc, narrowly avoiding a potentially disastrous no-deal scenario.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted “the deal is done,” while EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen praised the agreement.
The negotiations lasted about eight months and until a few days ago no one could say for sure whether they would end with an agreement: the European Union had already published the measures necessary to deal with a possible no deal, i.e. the exit of the United Kingdom without an agreement, a scenario that would have caused the reintroduction of many inconveniences both to theU.K. and to the European countries.
On January 1, the breakup will start feeling real. The new year will bring huge changes, even with a trade deal. No longer will goods and people be able to move freely between the U.K. and its continental neighbours without border restrictions.
It was worth fighting for this deal.
We now have a fair & balanced agreement with the UK. It will protect our EU interests, ensure fair competition & provide predictability for our fishing communities.
Europe is now moving on. https://t.co/77jrNknlu3
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) December 24, 2020
University and research
British students will no longer be able to participate in the Erasmus exchange program under the new Brexit deal. From next year, European students will have to apply for a visa, and university fees will double – up to 30,000 euros a year – similarly like others non-European students.
Immigration and tourism
From 1 January, the UK’s new points-based immigration system will come into force.
Those planning to stay in an EU country for longer than 90 days may need to apply for a visa or permit, which can only be obtained if they already have a job offer and an expected salary of at least 25,600 pounds (about 28,000 euros). EU citizens will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to six months.
Those EU nationals already living in the UK, as well as those from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, need to apply to continue living in the UK after 31 December under the settled status scheme.
Visiting the EU
The government is warning Britons that travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will change from 1 January.
Those planning trips in 2021 are being urged to check their passports – as from 1 January onwards, British travellers will need at least six months left on their passports. Their passports will also need to be less than 10 years old, even if it has six months or more left.
Without renewing their passport, they may not be able to travel to most EU countries. Currently, British travellers to the EU only need their passports to be valid for the proposed duration of their stay.
Services — which makes up 80% of Britain’s economy and includes sectors such as auditing, architecture and consulting — will face new restrictions.
Businesses may need to establish an office in the EU to continue trading, and may need local approval for their professional qualifications.