Brexit: Getting ready for changes
On 9 July 2020, the European Commission adopted a communication to help national authorities, businesses and citizens prepare for the inevitable changes that will arise at the end of the transition period.
Changes will occur to cross-border exchanges between the EU and the UK as of 1 January 2021– irrespective of whether an agreement on a future partnership has been concluded or not.
The communication sets out a sector-by-sector overview of the main areas where there will be changes regardless of the outcome of the ongoing EU-UK negotiations, and sets out measures that national authorities, businesses and citizens should take in order to be ready for these changes. It in no way seeks to prejudge the outcome of negotiations. As such, it does not examine the possible implications of a failure to reach an agreement, nor does it consider the need for contingency measures.
Its aim is to ensure that all public administrations and stakeholders are ready and well prepared for the unavoidable disruptions caused by the UK’s decision to leave the EU and to end the transition period this year. These measures complement actions taken at national level.
What does it mean for Business aviation?
As of 1 January 2021, air carriers holding operating licences granted by the UK licensing authority for the commercial carrying by air of passengers, mail and/or cargo, will no longer be able to provide air transport services within the European Union.
EU air carriers and holders of aviation safety certificates will need to ensure, and uphold compliance with Union requirements, including airlines’ requirements on principal place of business and EU majority ownership and control, as well as the Union aviation safety acquis.
All Business aviation operators conducting operations between the European Union and the United Kingdom must ensure compliance respectively with EU and UK certification requirements as of 1 January 2021.
Border formalities will affect Business aviation passengers and crews going forward. This also includes border checks on persons –entailing the verification of entry and stay requirements, stamping of passports, and visa requirements if applicable.
During the transition period, UK nationals are treated like Union citizens. Therefore, UK nationals currently benefit from freedom of movement when entering the European Union and the Schengen area.
As of 1 January 2021, UK nationals travelling to the European Union and the Schengen area will be treated as third-country nationals, and therefore subject to thorough checks at the Schengen area border. This means that intended stays on the territory of EU Member States cannot have a duration of more than 90 days in any 180-day period, and UK nationals will have to meet the entry conditions for third-country nationals. They can also no longer make use of the EU/EEA/CH lanes reserved for persons enjoying the right to free movement when crossing the border.
During the transition period, UK nationals are treated like Union citizens. Therefore, they are not subject to any visa requirements in the European Union, in particular when crossing Schengen borders.
Recent EU preparedness legislative measures have ensured that, as of 1 January 2021, UK nationals will remain exempt from the requirement to be in possession of visas when crossing the European Union’s external borders for short-term stays (up to 90 days in any 180-day period). This visa exemption does not provide for the right to work in the Union and is subject to the reciprocity mechanism applying to third countries, i.e. it could be suspended if Union citizens would cease to be given visa-free access to the United Kingdom for short stays.
Visa rules will also change for certain third-country nationals residing in the UK when they travel to the Union. For example, as of 1 January 2021, UK residence documents will no longer exempt the holder from airport transit visa requirements in the Union, and school pupils residing in the United Kingdom will no longer automatically benefit from visa-free access to the Union when going on school excursions.
Travelling with pets
During the transition period, pet owners resident in the United Kingdom can use the ‘EU pet passport’ to facilitate travel in the European Union with their pets. As of 1 January 2021, an EU pet passport issued to a pet owner resident in the United Kingdom will no longer be a valid document for travelling with pets from the United Kingdom to any of the EU Member States.
The requirements for pets accompanying those travelling from the United Kingdom in the future will be set by the Union.
In parallel, the European Commission is reviewing and, where necessary, updating all 102 stakeholder notices, published at the time of the withdrawal negotiations – many of which continue to be relevant for the end of the transition period.