The Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020. This means that free movement is over and EU/EEA and Swiss citizens can no longer freely enter and exit the UK pursuant to EU free movement rights free from domestic immigration law controls.
How will this affect EU/EEA and Swiss citizens?
If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, you will be able to travel to the UK for short trips without the need for a visa, provided you have a valid passport for the entire duration of your trip. After 31 December 2020, you can still use your EU/EEA or Swiss national ID card to enter the UK. However, from 1 October 2021 you will no longer be able to enter the UK with an EU/EE or Swiss national ID card, and will need to hold a valid passport for entry.
You may continue to use your EU/EEA or Swiss national ID card to enter the UK until 31 December 2025 if you:
- hold Pre-Settled or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”);
- hold an EUSS Family Permit;
- hold a Frontier Worker Permit;
- hold a Swiss Service Providers visa; or
- enter as a S2 Healthcare Visitor.
If you are the non-EEA family member of an EEA citizen, and you are entering the UK on that basis, you will need to have one of the following: a UK-issued Family Permit, an EUSS Family Permit, or a UK-issued biometric residence card to enter the UK. Please note you will no longer be able to use your Article 10 or Article 20 residence card issued by an EEA member state to enter the UK. Please see our blog at https://www.gherson.com/blog/can-your-family-members-join-you-uk-after-end-transition-period for more information.
How long can EU/EEA and Swiss citizens remain in the UK without a valid visa?
As an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen you will be permitted to stay in the UK, as a visitor, for up to six months without a visa. You will therefore be able to travel to the UK for holidays or other short trips without a visa. Should you remain in the UK for longer than six months, you will require a visa. Please contact us for more specific information regarding the UK immigration routes available.
Can school-children enter the UK without a visa?
Non-EEA national school-children who are residing in the EEA or Switzerland will continue to be able to travel to the UK under the List of Travellers scheme until 1 October 2021. The List of Travellers scheme allows such school-children to go on school trips without the need for a visa.
Will your European Health Insurance Card (“EHIC”) remain valid?
Currently, the EHIC entitles holders to state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the EU, if you fall ill or have an accident in any EU/EEA country where the scheme also applies. Please note that your current EHIC will no longer apply after 31 December 2020. If you are an EU/EEA national residing in the UK before the 31 December 2020, you will be able to apply for a new UK EHIC in due course. However, your current EHIC will no longer be valid after 31 December 2020. Please also note that EHICs will no longer be valid for most UK citizens travelling to an EU/EEA country.
Gherson has extensive experience in all aspects of UK immigration law. If you have any queries relating to the blogs published, or are interested in talking to us about your specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us for further advice.
The information in these blogs is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in these blogs. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.