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Act now: What will the end of the Brexit transition period mean for you or your business?

The UK has now left the European Union and the Brexit transition period will end on 31 December 2020.

Whether you’re an individual or a business, it’s important to understand and prepare for our new relationship with the EU, which could mean changes to daily life.

We want you to have all the information you need. So here we’ve shared what we know about the way you interact with our products and services will change.

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Travelling, posting to or doing business with the EU from January 2021? Here’s what you need to know.

 

The points below are largely focused on individuals rather than businesses. If you own or operate a business, you’ll find guidance further down the page.

 

In the event that the UK leaves without a deal:

  • You should follow the UK government’s travel advice before you travel abroad - search 'FCDO travel advice'
  • You may need to renew your UK passport earlier than planned
  • You may need extra documents to drive in Europe from January 2021
  • Mobile phone roaming charges might increase for Brits travelling in the EU
  • There will be more steps to posting items to the EU
  • Pet passports will no longer be valid
  • The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may not be valid for UK citizens from January 2021
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Travelling and driving in the EU

 

Passports

Different passport validity rules will apply for British Citizen passport holders when visiting Europe from January 2021.

You’ll need to check your passport validity online as you may need to renew it earlier than planned. We’ll update our information accordingly. To obtain a new passport or renew your current one, you can use the same resources as before.

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HM Passport Office

You can apply online for a passport directly from HM Passport Office. It costs £75.50 to renew or replace your passport if you apply online. Or it’s £85 if you fill out a paper form, available at all Post Office branches that have a Check & Send service.

You must be aged 16 or over (or turning 16 in the next 3 weeks) if you want an adult passport. There’s a different process to get a passport for a child.

Post Office Check & Send

You can use our Check & Send service to buy or renew your passport. Use our Branch Finder to locate your nearest of 700 participating branches; we'll be there to help. Find out more at the link below.

Passport check & send

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Driving in the EU after Brexit

To drive in the EU, you currently need:

  • - Your full UK driving licence
  • - Your vehicle log book (V5C)
  • - Evidence of valid motor insurance
  • - A VE103 if you are taking a rental car into the EU

When the transition period ends, you may also need:

  • - An International Driving Permit (IDP) for some EU countries
  • - If you’re taking your own vehicle, a motor insurance Green Card (available from your insurer) or valid proof of insurance and a GB sticker

You can get an International Driving Permit from your nearest Post Office branch that offers the service (use our Branch Finder to check which do) . All the information about what you need to bring can be found at the link below.

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European Health Card

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid up to 31 December 2020. This means British citizens visiting the EU will no longer have access to the healthcare EHIC provided.

It’s possible the UK will reach reciprocal health agreements with individual member states, but so far these are not in place. It’s imperative to have travel insurance with good health cover for future trips to Europe.

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Travel Insurance

Most travel insurers will continue to offer cover to Brits travelling to EU, including Post Office Travel Insurance, when the transition period ends. The loss of EHIC coverage from January 2021 means it’s very important to make sure you have adequate health cover in place for trips to the EU. Read your insurer’s policy documents carefully before purchase to ensure that the cover you’re buying offers the right level of protection for you. That’s particularly important if you have a pre-existing medical condition, as many travel insurance policies won’t cover them like EHIC did. Post Office Travel Insurance will remain valid and new policies for trips to the EU will continue to be available.

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Taking pets abroad

From January 2021 pet passports issued in the UK will no longer be valid for travel to the EU. So you’ll be unable to rely on yours if you want to take your pet away.

Pet travel requirements will also change. The new process includes your dog, cat or ferret getting microchipped and validating that your pet has been successfully vaccinated against rabies. This can take up to 4 months so speak to your vet for advice well in advance.

Detailed information on taking your pets to the EU after the UK leaves can be found here:

Pet travel to Europe after Brexit

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Using mobile phones

Rules around mobile roaming in Europe are changing from January 2021, and your mobile provider may charge you more for calls or data when abroad. This is at the discretion of your network provider, so check roaming policies before travelling. You can turn your roaming data off in the settings on your phone to avoid inadvertently paying these costs. Most EU countries have good WiFi capabilities in hotels, cafés, restaurants, bars, homes and even municipally.

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Sending parcels to the EU

If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, the rules for posting items to the EU will change. We expect the rules which apply to non-EU countries to be extended to EU countries.

This would mean customs declaration forms will be required for items being sent to all countries outside the UK with effect from 29 December 2020. Find out more and which forms you’ll need on our customs page.

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International Money Transfer

International Money Transfer

If you regularly send money abroad or plan to do so in future, you may be concerned about the impact Brexit could have on this process. And though regulations are changing, the rules governing money transfers will stay the same. Brexit should not impact your ability to send money abroad as you do today.

We always advise knowing the exchange rate before sending money abroad. You only need to look at how much the receiver will collect, be it to their bank account or for cash pick up.

International Money Transfer
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Using a bank card or other financial services

If you intend to use a bank card or other financial services in the EU after exit, this may be affected.

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Buying package holidays or timeshares

Insolvency protection for package holidays bought from a UK-based provider will remain the same, but your rights and protections might be different if you buy from an EU-based provider. You should check with your travel provider for clarity.

Similarly, there’s no change to your rights and protections when you buy timeshares from UK-based sellers, but they could change if you’re buying from an EU-based seller Brexit.


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Advice for businesses

Whatever our future trade relationship with the EU, it’s important to understand how the end of our transition period could affect your business and any actions you’ll need to take.

Government guidance is available to help you prepare. It includes a checker tool to help you make detailed plans based on the profile of your business. This will be useful if:

  • You’re importing and exporting

  • You’re trading with the EU

  • You employ EU citizens

  • You’re selling your goods

  • You receive personal data from the EU

  • You’re providing services

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Help and support for businesses

 

As we transition to the UK’s new relationship with the EU, there’s a wide range of support available.

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