What is the change? The U.K. government has updated guidance for EEA and Swiss nationals traveling to the U.K. for business or visits without a visa in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

What does the change mean? The guidance confirms that under a no-deal Brexit, EEA and Swiss nationals may continue to travel without a visa to the U.K. for short-term visits and business trips, and clarifies the types of identification documents required. Irish nationals are not affected because the Common Travel Area provisions will remain in effect after Brexit.

  • Implementation time frame: The guidance would take effect if the U.K. leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement.
  • Visas/permits affected: Short-term visit visas; visa-free travel to the U.K. post-Brexit.
  • Business impact: The rules affect EEA and Swiss nationals traveling on business to the U.K. after Brexit.

Background: The guidance, updated Oct. 25, confirms the following rules for EEA and Swiss nationals traveling to the U.K. after a no-deal Brexit:

  • EEA and Swiss nationals may travel to the U.K. without a visa, but only a valid passport or a national ID card will be accepted.
  • EEA national ID cards will be phased out sometime in 2020 and thereafter passports will be the only acceptable documents.
  • EEA and Swiss nationals may continue to use the expedited eGates if their passport contains a microchip.
  • Non-EEA family members must show both a valid passport and either a U.K.-issued residence permit or a U.K.-issued EEA family permit. An expired EEA family permit or residence permit or a passport stamp showing previous admission to the U.K. will no longer be accepted.
  • Under the Common Travel Area arrangements, Irish nationals will continue to be able to travel to the U.K. without needing additional permission.

Analysis & Comments: The risk of a no-deal Brexit has been temporarily averted, with the Brexit deadline pushed back to Jan. 31, 2020 and the British Parliament’s vote to hold a General Election on Dec. 12. Companies with European employees traveling to the U.K. should understand the travel rules and restrictions if a no-deal Brexit occurs.

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