The effects on travel, import and export between the UK and the EU

In June 2016 the British Government held a UK-wide referendum on whether to stay in the EU or not. 52% of the population voted to leave, which led to David Cameron resigning as Prime Minister. 

On 29th March 2017, the new UK Government formally notified the EU of the country’s intention to withdraw, this was the beginning of the Brexit process.  The withdrawal was originally planned for 29th March 2019, but was delayed due to deadlock in the UK Parliament following the General Election of June 2017.

This was eventually resolved by the formation of yet another new government and the UK formally left the EU at 23:00 GMT on 31st January 2020. This began a transition period set to end on 31st December 2020 during which time the UK and the EU are negotiating their future relationship.  During this transition period, the UK remains subject to EU law and remains part of the EU customs union and single market.

Now that this transition period is at an end, you need to know what the consequences of Brexit are for travel, and to and stay in the United Kingdom from January 1, 2021 onwards.

The British government have created a Brexit checker tool which can give you a personalised list of actions based on your specific situation. 

UK Quarantine Rules and red list travel ban countries

The UK currently has a travel ban in place for people who have been in or travelled through a red list country in the 10 days preceeding the date that they wish to enter the UK.

Starting 15th February 2021, if you are a British or Irish National or have residence rights in the UK and arrive in England from a country on the red list you will need to self-isolate in a quarantine hotel for at least 10 days. You will need to book and pay for your hotel room, and 2 COVID-19 tests before you travel.

You can find more detailed information on quarantine and COVID-19 regulations for the UK here.

Travelling to and staying in the UK for EU/Dutch citizens:

Depending on the activites that will be undertaken by the visitor, EU citizens do not currently require a visa for stays of up to 6 months in the UK. A list of the permitted activities allowed for visitors without a visa, can be found here.

From 1st October 2021, you will only be able to enter the UK using your passport.  Identity cards will no longer be accepted, except for those people who have lived in the UK since before 31st October 2020.  For these exceptions, ID cards can be used up to the end of 2025.

Border controls started on 1st January 2021 for all travellers and goods entering the UK from the EU and vice versa. This has the potential to cause severe delays in entering and leaving the UK and for the shipping of cargo and goods.

The British government have made it known that Dutch citizens may use their Dutch driver’s license to drive in the UK, while on a short visit of up to 3 months.  In these cases an international driving license is not needed. Dutch citizens will need to have their insurance green card or other valid proof of insurance when driving in the UK.

A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can be used in the UK from 1st January 2021 if you fall ill or have a medical emergency during your temporary stay in the UK.  The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and it will not cover any private medical healthcare, being flown back home or lost or stolen property. Travel or Health insurance is now necessary for all citizens of the EU, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein or Switzerland.

Mobile phone and internet charges have now changed for EU citizens using their phones in the UK.  The costs for calls, SMS and mobile data will depend on your operator.  Please check before you travel

Visa Service Desk will strive to keep you updated on the most recent developments on Brexit, travel between the UK and EU and the situation with import and export.

UK Immigration changes - Post Brexit

From 1st January 2021 the UK will start with a point based immigration system – detailed information on this can be found here.

This points based system will treat EU and Non-EU citizens equally, prioritising individuals’ skills and talent over where they come from.

This means that from 1st January, if you are not already resident in the UK or have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement then you, as an EU, EEA or Swiss Citizen will need to meet specific requirements in order to study or work in the UK.  You will also need to pass relevant checks, including a criminal background check.

Visa applications will be processed online through the British Government and for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens a digital photo will be necessary for biometrics.  Fingerprints are only necessary for non-EU citizens and these will need to be given at one of the official visa application centres for the UK.

Dutch Citizens planning to stay or work in the UK for more than 6 months will need to apply for a visa for the UK, for more information on how Visa Service Desk can assist you in getting a visa for the UK click here.

For more specific details on visa types for skilled workers, students and other visa types follow this link.

If you are an EU, EEA, Swiss citizen already living in the UK and you want to continue to live there beyond 30th June 2021, you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status).  The British Government has launched a step by step guide to help you through the process and with detailed information on whole process.

Higher Education and Research

Dutch Students in the UK – The UK government have said that tuition fees for EU students will not change in the academic year 2020/2021, more info can be found here.  (Dutch)

For information on Student visas for the UK, click here.

British Students in The Netherlands – UK Students that have been in The Netherlands since before 31st December 2020 fall under the Withdrawal Agreement and as such there will be no changes to tuition fees or the rights for student loans in The Netherlands. 

From 1st January 2021, UK citizens wishing to study in The Netherlands will be treated as non-EU/EEA citizens.

Import and Export between the UK and EU

During the transition period which started when the UK left the EU on 31st January 2020 and which ended on 1st January 2021, the UK and the EU were negotiating potential trade deals. An agreement has now been made for 100% tariff liberalisation, meaning that there will be zero tariffs and zero quotas on the movement of goods between the UK and EU. Companies wishing to Import and Export between the EU and the UK will, however, need to prepare for customs regulations.

A Summary of the Brexit agreement can be found here.

All companies that will import and export between the UK and the EU need to have an EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification Number). This number is needed in order to be able to submit a customs declaration or to apply for a permit from the Tax Authorities.

To find out how to get an EORI number click here. (Dutch) or here for information on exporting to the UK.

Once you have an EORI number you will still need to use a software platform or customs brokers to submit your customs declaration. Click here for more detailed information:  (Dutch)

Visa Service Desk is here to help you with any legalisations that you may need for your import and export between The Netherlands and the UK, or any other country.  Check our legalisation pages for more info.

For specific information and guidance for your company, use the Brexit checker from the UK government.


Posted workers within the EU

A Posted Worker is an employee who is sent by his or her employer to carry out a service in another EU Member State on a temporary basis.  This can be in the context of a contract of services, an intra-group posting or working through a temporary agency.

For example, a service provider may send employees to another country to complete a service contract for one of their clients.

Posted workers remain only temporarily in the host Member State and do not integrate in to it's labour market.

The Posting of Workers Directive requires EU countries to cooperate and share information. To facilitate this, national liaison offices and authorities have been set up in each country. These offices are contact points for authorities from other Member States, companies that post workers and the posted workers themselves.

You can find the details of the national liason offices here.

In addition to notifying the national liason office in the destination country, a posted worker should also have an A1 certificate (certificate of coverage). This certificate is proof that the worker is insured in their country of residence and that they will be covered by their own country's social insurance system. Although this form is not yet mandatory in all EU Member States, large fines can be given to workers that do not have one.

A1 certificates are issued in The Netherlands by SVB.


For more information on how Visa Service Desk can help you, please contact us today.