A trade agreement has been concluded between the UK and the EU. We take a look at what this means for you and what you need to pay attention to.
The deal was announced by officials on Christmas Eve and it means the UK will avoid much of the disruption associated with a no-deal Brexit.
Which?, as a UK consumer association, has analyzed the deal to explain what it means to you.
What the Brexit deal means for holidays and travel in Europe
Much of the current travel restrictions are due to Disruption related to COVID-19; the deal allows flights, ferries, trains and buses to continue largely as usual.
However, there are a number of new requirements for travelers:
- You will not need a visa to visit the EU (and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) for up to 90 days, within a 180 day period. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania will not count visits to other EU countries towards your 90 day total.
- You will need at least six months of validity on your passport, and no more than 10 years, when traveling to the EU (excluding Ireland, which is in the common travel area).
Rights and limits
- EU flight delay compensation rules will continue to apply to flights into and out of the UK, and between EU destinations (you do not need to be a citizen of the EU).
- You will have to pay customs fees if you bring back more than 42 liters of beer, plus 18 liters of wine and four liters of spirits, and up to 200 cigarettes
Health and driving
- Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can continue to be used as long as it is valid, even if travel insurance is always important.
- The government intends to introduce a new “UK Global Health Insurance Card’ in the New Year.
- If you’re driving in the EU, you’ll need an insurance green card, which you can get from your insurer (this can take up to six weeks).
- If you are driving to the EU you will need a GB sticker on your car.
What the Brexit deal means for shopping, food and prices
The trade deal means no tariffs will apply to food and goods traded between the UK and the EU, allaying fears of an immediate price hike in shops.
The main effects will be felt by people buying from EU sellers:
- Your consumer rights when shopping online from sellers in the EU have not changed, but you are unlikely to be able to enforce your rights in the EU through UK courts
- Customs duty (for deliveries over £390), VAT (over £135) and handling charges may also apply and parcels may be held at post offices until all fees and charges have been paid.
- If you are returning an item to an EU seller, you will need to include a CN22 customs form (for items under £270) or a CN23 form (over £270)
Is it a good deal for consumers?
To work for consumers, a deal must pass the four tests we outlined in 2018 in our Consumer Charter for Brexit.
Over time, we will be able to judge the effects of the UK-EU trade deal: in the short term, we will report on any examples of disadvantaged consumers.
The UK is also negotiating deals with several countries, which must also pass our tests. These include the United States, Australia and New Zealand; an agreement with Japan has already been agreed in principle.
Agreements must not have a negative impact on safety and quality standards, product choice, consumer rights and prices.
Which? is actively involved in promoting offers that benefit consumers: find out more about our work around trade agreements and how they affect you here.
Where can I learn more about the agreement?
We have assembled a Brexit Advice Centerwhich brings together all of our advice on shopping, money and travel.
If you want, you can read the UK government summary and full text of the 1,246-page agreement.