LivingTravelWhat will Brexit mean for non-EU visitors to the...

What will Brexit mean for non-EU visitors to the UK?

How will Brexit affect your next trip to the UK? If you come from outside the EU, not much… for now.

On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom became the first country in the European Union to vote. You have undoubtedly seen the headlines that refer to ‘Brexit’, which is short for British Exit. Britain has been a part of the EU for over 40 years, so the interrelated relationships – legal, financial, security and defense, agricultural, trade, and more – are likely as twisted and intertwined as the neural pathways in the brain.

Since that vote, it seems no one really understood how long it would take to unravel the relationship. Article 50 (the official phrase for legislation that would initiate the departing process) was invoked and a two-year countdown to departure began. That was supposed to happen on March 30, 2019. In fact, as of this writing, on May 10, 2019, the process has been extended to at least the end of October 2019. And no one really knows what will happen. then.

Will Britain leave the EU with some kind of trade deal? Will the people of Great Britain be given a chance to vote on the issue again? Will Brexit really happen? Ask three British politicians and you will get three different answers. The real answer is that no one really knows.

Meanwhile, what does it mean to you?

In the short term, very little will have changed for visitors from outside or within the EU during the summer of 2019. Britain remains a member (at least until the end of October 2019) and while governments negotiate the terms of the divorce The privileges and requirements for tourists will remain in effect.

Your spending power in 2019

If you have dollars to spend, the image is relatively neutral. In July 2016, after the June Brexit referendum, there was a sharp drop in the value of the British pound to levels not seen in more than 30 years and the drop brought the pound closer to parity with the dollar. But within a few months, the pound started to rise and has been relatively stable, at around $ 1.30 per pound since then.

In plain English, that means your dollars go a little further than they did in early 2016 (when the British pound was hovering around $ 1.45), but not dramatically, unless you’re spending large amounts of money. The monetary situation is volatile and, depending on what happens after October 31, the pound could fall again. So it’s probably not a good idea to pay upfront for a UK holiday you will take in the future or for travel currency if you can help it.

Complex factors mean that different currencies find their own tiers against each other. As the pound falls against the dollar, it is likely to fall against other currencies as well. If you don’t have dollars to spend, check the value of your own currency to see what the impact will be.

On the other hand, if you are considering a two-center vacation in Britain and Europe, now is the time to take it. Although no one knows what types of settlements will be negotiated, open-pit relations between the UK and other EU countries will undoubtedly suffer. When that happens, cheap flights between Britain and Europe could end. But they haven’t yet, so the advice for the 2019 holiday season is to go now.

Things that won’t change after Brexit for non-EU citizens.

  • Currency : The UK has never been part of the EuroZone (the area where euros are the legal tender), so the currency remains the same, British pounds. If you have euros left over from a trip across the continent, you should still be able to exchange them for pounds sterling as usual. And those stores that deal with tourists are likely to accept them, albeit at a fairly low exchange rate. See Can I spend my surplus euros in the UK?
  • Border Controls: The UK never joined the Schengen agreement, through which 26 European countries maintain open borders and visa-free travel. Entering the UK from any other country except Ireland has involved the presentation of passports and visa regulations have been applied for people coming from non-EU countries. Americans and others outside the EU will not experience any change in this. Many Britons who supported the successful ‘Leave’ campaign now boast that ‘we have taken back our borders’. This is actually quite a useless and empty boast, as the UK has always imposed borders. But depending on the final agreement reached, European residents, who have been able to go through an EU immigration process, can now join American tourists who wait in much longer lines to enter the UK.

Things that can remain the same or similar for non-EU citizens

  • Pet Travel : Although pets that have qualified for EU pet passports have been able to travel freely within the EU, other regulations apply to pets entering the UK from North America and other parts of the world. Dogs, cats and ferrets with the appropriate inoculations and documents have been able to enter the UK from ‘listed’ countries outside of Europe without a quarantine period. That is unlikely to change, although some of the required paperwork may change in the future. And bringing a pet from a listed country to the UK via Europe may also involve new red tape and regulations in the future. Find out more about the PET travel plan as it applies to non-EU countries.
  • Tax-free allowances: The actual allowances for tax-free purchases change from time to time, but if you are traveling from the UK to a country outside the EU you have always been able to shop duty-free. That is not likely to change. However, what could change in the future is the type of tax-free shopping available. Right now, while the UK is still in the EU, there is no duty-free shopping between the UK and Europe (goods travel freely, as taxes are paid). That will change, subject to Brexit negotiations, at which point, leaving the UK for a European country may allow visitors to shop duty-free in that direction once again.

Things that are complete unknowns

  • Visa requirements for EU citizens This is one of the issues that will finally be negotiated and no one knows yet what form they will take. As an incoming tourist, the lines at immigration and passport control may be longer as EU citizens will not go through the same channel as British passport holders. But that’s a time in the future and it won’t affect your 2019 summer travel plans just yet.
  • The Irish border : One of the problems that led to Brexit was the European requirement for the free movement of workers between countries. For the most part, the new border controls won’t have an impact on your travels with one exception. The Republic of Ireland is in the EU. It has an open border with Northern Ireland (part of the UK and leaves the EU). That open border may have new border controls imposed in the future with an impact on the Good Friday Agreement that has brought peace to the area. It is the Irish border issue that has delayed Brexit implementation until 2019 with no real end in sight.
  • VAT : VAT is a European sales tax that visitors from outside the EU can claim when they leave. Once Brexit is complete, the UK will not have to impose VAT. But they can impose their own taxes on the sales of goods. Nobody knows if that will happen, if he knows how much it will be and if he will be able to claim it. If you travel in the summer of 2019, you can still claim VAT.

The humor

The Brexit referendum result was very close, leaving a very large and unhappy minority of 48% of those who voted. More young people voted to stay in the EU, more older people voted to leave. At the moment, the environment in the UK ranges from jubilant to devastated and angry. Europeans are worried about having to return to their countries after years of living in the UK. Hundreds of thousands of Britons who have withdrawn to European countries are worried that they will have to return to Britain.

If ever there was a time when engaging in a conversation about politics was inappropriate, now it is. Unless you really know what you’re talking about, don’t offer your own views on Brexit, just listen. If you don’t, you may get a negative opinion about how things are in your own country.

Sadly, the victory of the Leave campaign has emboldened a small but very minority of xenophobes and racists who suddenly feel empowered. Parliament’s official website reported a 40% increase in racially and religiously motivated hate crimes between 2017 and 2018.

These crimes and attitudes remain relatively rare in the UK. But, as in the US, if you are a member of an ethnic minority or speak English with a heavy accent, it is a good idea to keep in mind.

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