What is the change? In a series of technical notes published last week, the UK government has set out the implications if the UK leaves the EU on Brexit Day (March 29, 2019) without reaching a withdrawal agreement, including to the rules governing travel and mobility.

What does the change mean? Employers and individuals should understand the default requirements and restrictions on mobility for UK and EU citizens in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

Key points:

  • Irish citizens in the UK and UK citizens in Ireland will continue to retain all rights they currently enjoy under the Common Travel Area rules, even in a no-deal Brexit. The Common Travel Area will be maintained between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, assuring the continued free movement of citizens of the UK and Ireland (as well as the Isle of Man and Channel Islands) to travel, work and settle in each other’s countries, and associated rights to healthcare, education and other social benefits.
  • Travelling to the EU with a UK passport  may be more difficult under “no deal,” as UK citizens will automatically become third-country nationals subject to immigration controls when traveling to EU countries. Additionally, when travelling to the 26-country Schengen region, UK passport holders will be subject to passports-validity rules and strict counting rules on durations of stay. Passports must have been issued within 10 years of the date of arrival in a Schengen country and must have at least three months of remaining validity beyond the intended departure date (or approximately six months of remaining validity beyond the arrival date). UK nationals would also be limited to stays within the Schengen region of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.
  • The technical notes do not address the status of EU citizens (other than Irish citizens) regarding travel to the UK. The rights of EU citizens in the UK have already been protected within the UK Immigration Rules Appendix EU, setting up a two-year transition period during which free movement will be retained, and ensuring permanent residence for any EU citizen who arrives before 1 January 2021 at the point they achieve five years’ residence.  Following a “no deal” Brexit, it would require parliamentary approval to change these rules and would go against all government reassurances when launching the EU Settlement Scheme.

Analysis & Comments: While the UK government continues to work toward a comprehensive withdrawal agreement with EU negotiators, it recognizes that with Brexit just six months away and a complex legal process to ratify any agreement, a no-deal outcome remains a possibility. UK employers and business travellers should factor in additional time and processing if immigration controls are placed on travel within Europe post-Brexit. British citizens should consider renewing their passports now if they hold older, longer-validity passports (issued more than nine years and six months before the intended date of travel) or if they will expire within six months of intended travel to a Schengen country. British citizens planning travel to the Schengen region post-Brexit should familiarize themselves with the strict counting rules that would apply to them if there is no deal in place.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.