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What will UK entry requirements be for Europeans after Brexit?

The Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020. It means that the era of open borders is over. So, what will entry requirements be for residents of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland into the UK?

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

It will not be possible to use an EU, EEA or Swiss national ID card to enter the UK after 1 October 2021. Instead, Europeans will need a valid foreign passport to enter the country.

However, there are a few exceptions. The following categories of people may continue to enter the UK using their national identity cards only, until 31 December 2025:

  1. Those with settled or pre-settled status. This scheme is available for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens permanently resident in the UK.
  2. Those who have a EUSS Family Permit. It is valid for family members of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.
  3. Those who have a Frontier Worker Permit. It applies to residents of frontier states employed in UK companies, seasonal workers and self-employed people working in the UK.
  4. Those who have a Swiss Service Providers visa.
  5. Those who have an S2 Healthcare Visitor visa.

For migrants who are family members of EEA nationals

Life is unpredictable and varied. People from different countries meet, fall in love and decide to be together. It is common for one partner to be a citizen of the European Economic Area and the other to come from outside the EEA.

In this case free entry is also available until 31 December 2025. You will have to provide one of the following documents:

  • UK issued Family Permit;
  • EUSS Family Permit;
  • UK issued biometric residence card.

Please note that it does not apply to those people who have Article 10 or Article 20 residence cards issued by an EEA member state. After Brexit they lose their right of free entry to the UK.

How long can EU, EEA and Swiss citizens stay in the UK without a visa?

It is possible for them to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. If you plan a longer trip, you will need to obtain a visa or a residence permit, if there are reasons for that.

Will the European Health Insurance Card be valid in the UK?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is free insurance for Europeans. It is valid in the European Union. However, after the Brexit transition period ended, i.e. after 31 December 2020, it is no longer valid in the United Kingdom.

EU citizens who have permanent residence in the UK will need to obtain a new UK Global Health Insurance Card. Besides, British nationals traveling in Europe must keep in mind that the EHIC no longer applies to them.

If you have any questions about crossing the UK border or legally staying here, advisers at Imperial & Legal will be happy to answer them and help you choose the best option for entry and residence in this beautiful country.

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