Britain has quit the EU ... but what does it mean for you?

File photo dated 25/03/17 of 4-year-old Cormac Mellor-Stephenson joining pro-EU protesters at a rally

How will the Brexit trade deal affect you? - Credit: PA

At the end of December the trade deal that will govern the UK's relationship with the EU was signed into law.

The deal was live from 11pm on New Year's Eve, as the transition period came to an end.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson signs the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement at 10 Downing Street, W

Prime Minister Boris Johnson signs the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement at 10 Downing Street, Westminster - Credit: PA

In the four years since the referendum in 2016 headlines have been dominated by issues such as fishing quotas and buzzwords like 'sovereignty'. 

But now the details of the deal have been released, how will they impact the man or woman on the street in East Anglia?


The end of the year-long transition period marks the end of freedom of movement rights between the UK and EU.

UK citizens will still be able to go on holiday to EU countries but it will not be quite as easy as before.

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Small changes such as having to use different lanes at border control and no longer being guaranteed free data roaming will come in. 

An EasyJet plane on its final approach before landing at Gatwick airport

UK tourists will still not need a visa and can stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period in EU countries. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

But for short trips to most EU countries — as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway — tourists will still not need a visa and can stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

You will also have to order a new, blue, passport if your old one has less than six months until it expires, or if it is more than 10 years old.

Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, where visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total.

A visa or permit may be needed to stay for longer.

Travel to Ireland will not change.

However, these changes may not have much impact in 2021 as coronavirus travel restrictions seem likely to remain in place.


Travellers will still be able to access medical care while on the continent and EU citizens will still be able to receive care in the UK.

Existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will continue to be valid until they expire, allowing the holder to access healthcare while they are in the EU.

Once the card has run out, however, people who apply for a new card will receive a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which will largely function in the same way as an EHIC.

However, from January 1 GHICs and most UK EHICs will not provide cover in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland — so people are advised to take out health insurance.

The government also warned people that an EHIC or GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. They advised travellers, including those with pre-existing conditions, to get insured. 


The end of transition period at 11pm on December 31 will see the end of the pet passport scheme between the UK and the EU. Now, any animals taken into the EU will need an Animal Health Certificate.

The UK government is advising people to allow a month to arrange this and any other vaccinations their pooch may need.

Crowds of Christmas shoppers on Westgate Street, Ipswich

Despite the rush of Christmas shoppers in Ipswich, data from the Centre for Cities indicates footfall had not recovered to its pre-pandemic levels. - Credit: Danielle Booden


The UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement means there will be no tariffs on products sold between the two.

This will allow companies on both sides to keep trading in a similar way to now, with the aim of preventing price rises and keeping shelves stocked.

But trade bodies such as the Food and Drink Federation have warned that the last-minute nature of the trade deal, new customs red tape and recent border chaos triggered by the coronavirus pandemic could still lead to price rises.

Those receiving goods from abroad may have to pay VAT and duties.

For people coming back from the EU, you will now only avoid having to pay UK duties on goods valued up to £390.

When the UK was a member of the EU there was no limit on the amount of alcohol or tobacco you could bring back home — as long as the duty had been paid in the country where the goods were bought and you could prove it was for your own use.

Now, the limits on alcohol are 42 litres of beer, 18 litres of still wine and four litres of spirits or nine litres of sparkling wine, fortified wine or any alcoholic beverage less than 22% strength.

For tobacco the limit is 200 cigarettes.

Working abroad

A permit or visa will now be needed to live, work or retire to the EU.

This means you will need to apply for residency in accordance with individual country’s immigration rules. These will depend on the country you want to move to, and the reasons for your move.

Now that the transition period is over, the UK will not take part in the Erasmus programme which allowed students to study abroad in Europe.

File photo dated 16/07/08 of university graduates.

Under the new deal students will no longer to study abroad under the Erasmus scheme. But the government has announced a similar programme called the Turing scheme. - Credit: PA

The government said it will be replaced by the £100 million Turing scheme, named after Bletchley Park codebreaker Alan Turing, which will support around 35,000 students to go on placements around the world from September.

Government guidance on visiting Europe states that a visa or permit may be needed for study.

Driving abroad

Under the deal Brits will still be able to drive abroad but will need extra documents.

UK motorists entering EU countries will need a green card and GB sticker if taking their own vehicle from January 1.

Green cards provide proof of vehicle insurance when driving abroad and should be requested from your insurer at least six weeks before travel.

An international driving permit (IDP) may be needed to drive in some EU countries and Norway if someone has a paper rather than a photocard licence, or if their licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.

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