Brexit: Will you still be able to take your pet to Europe? And other questions

Brexit: Will you still be able to take your pet to Europe? And other questions

The UK and European Union have warned that talks on their relationship after Brexit could end without a deal.

Here are some of your questions about how that could affect the way we live and work.

Pet passports issued in the UK will not be valid for travel to the EU from 1 January 2021. Instead, you will need to follow a different process.

The government says you should contact your vet at least four months before travelling. So, if you’re planning to travel in the first few months of 2021 you may already be too late to start the process.

Pet passports are issued by EU members and a few other countries including Greenland, Iceland and Switzerland, and allow EU nationals to travel freely with their cat, dog or ferret.

The UK has applied to be added to the scheme, which could allow pets to travel on a similar basis, but we do not know yet know the decision.

If the UK is not added to the scheme, and is “unlisted”, then any pet travelling to the EU would need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, confirmed by a blood test 30 days later.

You would not be able to travel with your pet until three months after the date of the blood sample.

Pet travel between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK will not be affected.

Your passports will be valid as long as they are less than 10 years old and it is at least six months before they run out.

However, you could face other travel restrictions.

From 1 January, the UK will no longer be treated as part of the EU and British travellers may not be able to visit member countries except for essential reasons.

That’s because of coronavirus restrictions placed on travellers from most non-EU countries. The EU could choose to exempt the UK from these rules, or Spain could create a bespoke “travel corridor” with the UK, allowing restriction-free travel.

You will also need to check that you have travel insurance in place as EHIC cards will no longer be valid. You should also check what documents you will need for driving.

Other coronavirus restrictions are also in place.

From 04:00 GMT on Saturday 12 December, passengers arriving into the UK from the Canary Islands must quarantine for 14 days.

However, from 15 December, travellers to England will be able to pay for private testing and reduce their quarantine time, if they test negative five days after their arrival.

Just over a quarter of food eaten in the UK is produced in the EU. At present, that food is not subject to import taxes, which are known as tariffs.

What happens after the rules change on 1 January depends on whether the UK secures a trade deal with the EU. If it does, those imports may be able to continue without tariffs being paid.

If it doesn’t, EU countries will be treated the same as any other country with which the UK does not have a deal.

The UK has set out the tariffs it will charge on products coming from such countries. Some are lower than those previously charged to non-EU countries, so some prices could come down.

But meat and dairy products coming from the EU would face steep tariffs for the first time, and fruit and vegetables would be also affected.

Shops are likely to pass some or all of that cost on to customers in the form of higher prices. Tesco has said a no-deal could result in food bills climbing by 5%, but estimates vary.

Brexit changes also mean more paperwork on imports and exports, as well as different regulations which must be followed. This has a cost, so food prices could still rise even if import tariffs are not introduced.

The EHIC entitles EU nationals to state-provided medical treatment if they fall ill or have an accident in any member country, as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

UK-issued EHICs will no longer be valid after 1 January 2021. The government has said people must buy travel insurance with healthcare cover instead, before travelling to the EU.

The EHIC covers pre-existing medical conditions, but some travel insurance policies don’t.

For people with pre-existing conditions finding the right kind of cover can be difficult and expensive, but the government says it will be “particularly important” for them to do so.

UK state pensioners living in the EU before 31 December 2020, and UK students already on EU courses, can use their EHIC beyond 2020, but will need to apply for new cards, as will so-called “frontier workers” – people who work in one state and live in another.

The government has said it is trying to negotiate a deal that would allow short-term visitors, such as tourists and business travellers, to receive healthcare cover.

EU nationals living and working in the UK have the right to apply for settled status, as long as they do it before the end of June 2021. The fact that you have have already secured settled status means there will be no change to your right to travel into and out of the UK in 2021.

At present citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States of America, Singapore and South Korea can all use their biometric passports to pass through e-passport gates on arrival in the UK.

From 1 January, the Home Office says that provision will be made to ensure that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will also be able to use e-passport gates and the existing queuing arrangements. It says that this will be kept under review.

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