What does Brexit mean for travel, property, pensions and more?

Brexit is "done", as the slogan reads, and it will officially begin on Friday, January 1st.

We have rounded up the key changes to personal finances after Brexit so that you can step into money matters well informed and with confidence in this new era.

Exiting the EU: What does Brexit mean for your money from January 1st?


As part of the Brexit agreement, vacationers in the EU countries as well as in Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway continue to receive free health care.

People with European health insurance cards can use them until they expire. However, the UK will be introducing a global health insurance card to replace it.

From January 1st, Brits can visit Europe for 180 to 90 days.

However, the EU intends to introduce a new visa called the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) by the end of 2022.

It is similar to the American ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) passport and is expected to cost € 7 and cover several short trips over a period of three years.

You can also pay cellular roaming fees when traveling to the EU as these could be reintroduced, despite the government's law stating that they are capped at £ 45 per month, which is the level of non-EU countries corresponds.

Regarding flying, in the event of a late delay or cancellation from January 1, 2021, you will be entitled to a diversion or a refund when departing from an EU airport.

You are also entitled to fly from a non-EU airport to an EU airport with a “Community Carrier”.

However, if you are traveling on a non-EU airline that flies from a non-EU destination, the airline does not have the same duties.

New rules: Many expats in the EU have been told by their banks that their accounts will be closed and credit cards will be canceled

New rules: Many expats in the EU have been told by their banks that their accounts will be closed and credit cards will be canceled

Bank accounts

Brexit could be a bumpy affair for the finances of thousands of the 1.3 million UK expats living in the EU.

For months, Barclays, Lloyds, Halifax and Nationwide Building Society, among others, have been writing to customers in Belgium, Italy and Holland to notify them that their bank accounts will be closed and their credit cards canceled.

This is because these institutions will not have a license to operate overseas when the EU-wide financial passport rules expire on December 31st.

The news is a blow to those looking to have their state pension or other income deposited into a UK bank account, or simply want to keep a financial footprint in the UK, although all customers should be notified two months before closing.

This is Money has a guide to options for those facing account closures here.

State pensions: British expats in the EU will continue to increase annually, plus health rights, as long as they move there before the end of 2020.

State pensions: British expats in the EU will continue to increase annually, plus health rights, as long as they move there before the end of 2020.


The impact of Brexit on the real estate market is very difficult to determine as people's decision to buy a home is linked to other current unknowns such as employment rates and mortgage availability.

Mortgage rates are already low thanks to Covid-19, and if the Bank of England takes the base rate into negative territory to help the country cope with the Brexit shock – as some predict – they will likely stay that way.

This means that if you have a variable rate or a tracker rate, your monthly payments can go down. This would also be great news for first time buyers and those looking to reschedule.

However, if the interest rate were to increase due to inflation, which in turn is a possibility, it would have the opposite effect. Many people have signed fixed income contracts this year to avoid this uncertainty.

The real estate market has developed strongly this year. Since the market reopened after the initial lockdown, transaction levels and values ​​have increased.

One mindset is that people who are confident enough to buy a house in the middle of a global pandemic are also confident enough to buy a house after Brexit.

However, there are already signs of a slowdown. House prices are likely to fall – or at least not grow as quickly – over the next year as the effects of the pandemic catch up with the economy and the government's stamp tax vacation ends on March 31.

If Brexit results in significant job losses, it could exacerbate the situation and lead to a drop in activity and, consequently, a fall in prices.

Holiday homes: People who are not resident in an EU country are only allowed to stay there for 90 days

Holiday homes: People who are not resident in an EU country are only allowed to stay there for 90 days

British nationals who own holiday homes in Europe are most directly affected.

Those who own a property in the Schengen area but are not resident in that country are only allowed to stay there 90 out of 180 days – and if they rent out their property while they are not there, they can face higher taxes.


Although originally an EU invention, the remuneration system for financial services will not go away after December 31st.

The guarantee protects up to £ 85,000 in savings held with banks and building societies when they go bust, as well as money held on investment platforms and in some insurance and pension schemes.

The limit will not change after Brexit and could stay at £ 85,000 through 2025, despite a falling pound, meaning UK savers will benefit from lower levels of protection than those on the continent.

Some foreign banks, such as RCI and Triodos, which are French and Dutch respectively, had UK branches already in place before Brexit, which means UK savers' money is protected under the FSCS.

Consumer rights: Advice on goods and services bought from retailers in the EU may change depending on whether the UK leaves with a store

Consumer rights: Advice on goods and services bought from retailers in the EU may change depending on whether the UK leaves with a store

In the meantime, those who still hold money in the European branch of an EU bank after Brexit shouldn't see any change in their deposit insurance protection, according to the FSCS.

Deposits will continue to be covered by an EU scheme which protects up to EUR 100,000 or around £ 92,500.


The Brexit deal offers consumers protection when buying from companies in the UK or the EU, including when shopping online. In the future, however, there could be rule differences between the UK and the EU that are not currently clear.

The right to get a refund for a defective product within 30 days is UK specific so this will not change.

No customs duties are levied on goods from the EU, so a minimal impact on prices can be expected. However, if you buy goods from the EU that cost more than £ 390, you will have to pay duties.


British expats in the European Union will continue to receive an annual increase in their state pension and health rights.

This also applies to those who live in Switzerland and to countries that belong to the European Economic Area, but not to the EU – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

When it comes to private pensions and other financial services, the Association of British Insurers says of the Brexit deal: “While this agreement does not directly cover the insurance and broader financial services industries, it does provide a good basis for positive future cooperation with our European neighbors .

"We hope that this will enable us to resolve any open questions quickly."

According to ABI, the industry has done everything it can to prepare for Brexit, including transferring insurance contracts and establishing EU subsidiaries and branches to minimize disruption for customers.

Expats should contact companies directly if they have any concerns.

For those who live in the UK and have a pension or insurance product from an EU or EEA based company, the state policy is that your coverage should not change.

Free investment guide

Fuel bills

In the Brexit agreement, Great Britain and the EU agreed to develop and implement new regulations for energy trading by April 2022.

In the meantime, provisional measures have been taken but the impact on people's electricity bills is not yet clear.


Traditional advice for long-term savers is always to make sure you are well diversified and to avoid jerky decisions.

However, it is not an overreaction to check where you are invested and if you need to offset due to a seismic event like Brexit.

Investment experts are optimistic about the UK's outlook in 2021, although the recovery may not start until late spring or summer, if enough people should be vaccinated against Covid-19 to allow economic activity to resume.

The uncertainty about Brexit will increase once an agreement is reached with our former EU partners and UK stocks continue to be cheap.

Experts welcome the latest offers to UK businesses as a sign of resurgent interest from overseas investors.

Small businesses

UK companies that import and export goods within the EU will have to make some changes from January 1st.

As with the import and export of goods to the rest of the world, entrepreneurs have to file customs declarations.

These ensure that the correct import duty and VAT are applied. Import and export licenses or certificates can also apply to certain types of goods.

For business owners who sell to EU customers, you can charge 0 percent VAT on most goods, known as the "zero rate".

Companies also need an EORI number starting with “GB” to import and export goods from England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man to the EU.

To move goods to or from Northern Ireland, you may also need a separate EORI number. Read about the rules here.

There are new rules for hiring EU citizens to work for your company, including registering as a licensed visa sponsor. For more information, see our manual here.

Student finance

The UK is leaving the Erasmus program, which gives students the opportunity to live, study and work in other EU countries, and provides financial support.

The government has promised to replace this with a "Turing Program" for British students that will cover universities around the world.

Students in Northern Ireland can still take part in Erasmus under an agreement with the Irish government.

Compiled by Tanya Jefferies, Angelique Ruzicka, George Nixon, Grace Gausden, Jayna Rana and Helen Crane.

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