On 23 June 2016, the UK electorate voted that the UK should the EU. The process of leaving was commenced by invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union 29 March 2019. At 11 p.m. GMT on Friday 31 January 2020 Brexit was implemented and the UK entered the transition period with the EU.
On 24 December 2020 the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that a trade deal had been agreed with the EU (the Trade and Cooperation Agreement) which would define the trading relationship (amongst other matters) between the UK and EU following the end of the transition period. The UK Parliament was recalled on 30 December 2020 to debate the EU (Future Relationship) Bill. This was approved by the House of Commons and the House of Lords and received Royal Assent on 31 December 2020.
The legislation, known as the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020, implements the agreed terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
The European Parliament only formally voted on the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement on 27 April 2021, with 660 votes in favour. There were five votes against approval the deal and 32 abstentions.
How can we help?
Whilst a trade deal has been agreed, there is still a lot of information unknown for business. The trade deal will need to be unravelled. The areas not covered by the trade deal will need to be examined further. As a full-service law firm, we can provide advice, support and prepare you for these challenging times.
Our cross-sector specialists can give focused, practical and expert Brexit legal advice on a range of issues including:
We will guide you through the changes of the post-Brexit world.
Listen to our experts Jacqui Bickerton and Mandy Higgins as they contribute to the 'Brexit Ready' podcast by London Business Hub, exploring the challenges that the UK music industry face and answering questions about how organising tours will likely change now we have left the EU.
Frequently asked questions
Now we have left the EU. Read our answers to a series of frequently asked questions on Brexit. If you have a question that we haven't answered, let us know and we'll answer it!
Driving in the EU
What is the status of my UK driving licence?
Prior to Brexit the UK individual driving licence was valid within the EU and it permitted individuals to drive throughout the EU for business and leisure.
Has this changed now in view of the Trade Deal
Yes. The UK driving licence may no longer be valid as a stand alone permission to drive within the EU Member States.
Can I drive from the UK to an EU Member State?
Yes, if you have a full driving licence issued in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.
You must take the physical licence with you on your journey.
See below if you need a further permit.
Do I need an International Driving Permit (“IDP”)?
Not required if driving to an EU Member State, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein if your visit has a duration of less than 90 days.
If travelling to Cyprus, then an IDP is not required if the duration of your stay is less than 30 days.
You do need an IDP if:
- your driving licence is paper only; or
- your driving licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.
Note: Different countries require different IDPs so it is crucial to check the individual country’s requirements.
Is there just one type of IDP?
No there are different types and it is important to ensure you apply for the correct IDP which is dependent upon the country you are intending to drive within.
What will happen if I don’t have an IDP?
The border authorities will not permit entry to your destination and you could face enforcement action in the form of a fine.
Which IDP will I need?
The two types of IDP for EU driving depends on the country you intend to drive within and which Convention that country is party to:
- countries governed by the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic
- countries Governed by the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic
A full list of countries can be found here https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad/international-driving-permit
What happens if I want to drive to different countries during the same trip and they are governed by different Conventions?
You will need both types of IDP as those countries are covered by the different Conventions.
How do I apply for an IDP and are they expensive?
The IDP will be needed for both professional and personal driving within the EU post Brexit.
Post Offices are issuing this type of IDP over the counter:
- the cost is £5.50
- you must live in Great Britain or Northern Ireland
- you must have a full UK driving licence
- you must be over 18 years old.
Do I need a GB sticker on my car?
If your vehicle’s number plate includes the GB identifier, with or without the Union flag, then no GB sticker is required.
If your vehicle’s number plate has:
- a Euro symbol; or
- a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales; or
- numbers and letters only
You will need to display a GB sticker on the back of your vehicle.
If driving in Spain, Malta or Cyprus then a GB sticker must be displayed on your vehicle irrespective of the appearance of the vehicle’s number plate.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
What is EHIC?
The European Health Insurance Card (“EHIC”) is a small card issued to travellers across EU member states.
The holder of an EHIC is entitled to state-provided medical treatment in the EU country they have travelled to, including emergency or necessary medical care, at the same cost that is charged to residents of that country.
Is my EHIC still valid?
The deal reached between the UK and EU provides that all EHIC cards issued before the end of 2020 will be valid until their expiry day.
Which countries will recognise my EHIC?
All EU member states.
It will not be recognised in (save for limited exceptions below):
Who are the exceptions for the EHIC in Norway, Iceland, Leichtenstein and Switzerland?
You may be eligible to apply if you are:
- an EU, Norwegian, Icelandic, Liechtenstein or Swiss national, and have been living in the UK since before 1 January 2021
- receiving a UK State Pension or some other ‘exportable benefits’, and have been living in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland since before 1 January 2021
- a ‘frontier worker’ (someone who works in one state and lives in another), and have been one since before 1 January 2021, for as long as you continue to be a frontier worker in the host state
- an eligible family member or dependant of one of the above.
What is the GHIC?
The EHIC is being replaced by the Global Health Insurance Card (“GHIC”).
It operates in the same way as the EHIC.
If your EHIC remains valid then there is no need to apply for GHIC.
Which countries will recognise the GHIC?
All EU member states except for:
- the Channel Islands, including Guernsey, Alderney and Sark
- the Isle of Man
- San Marino
- the Vatican
Who needs a GHIC?
UK nationals living in the UK and:
- Are planning a trip to an EU member state; and
- Your EHIC has expired.
Where can I apply for the GHIC?
What is the cost?
The GHIC is free of charge via the NHS dedicated webpage.