We’ve left the EU – here’s what we know

The UK and EU finally reached a Trade Deal, albeit just a few days prior to the end of year deadline. But what does the deal mean for you and your business, in terms of purchasing and travel?

Following months of negotiations, the UK and the European Union agreed a deal on Christmas Eve – just a week before the current trading arrangements expire. The UK’s aim was to agree terms that meant leaving the single market without the prospect of tariffs and quotes.

Here, Lease Group looks at how Brexit will impact our lives and businesses from January 1st, 2021.


There will be no tariffs on products sold between the UK and the EU to allow companies on both sides to keep trading in a similar way to now, with the idea of preventing price rises and keeping shelves stocked.

The European Commission said the two sides had created “an ambitious free trade area with no tariffs or quotas on products, regulatory and customs co-operation mechanisms”.

The commission said products such as meats, dairy and cereals could have faced tariffs of as much as 50 per cent under World Trade Organisation rules, and car deals could have faced an extra ten per cent cost, all of which has been prevented by striking a deal.

Business Travel

Rules for business trips and holidays will change as free movement of people between the EU and UK comes to an end.

UK citizens will be allowed to stay in the EU for 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa, and the same will apply for EU citizens in the UK.

The European Commission says the choice to end free movement “inevitably mean[s] that business travel between the EU and the UK will no longer be as easy as it currently is”.

In 2022 people from the UK will also have to stump up for a visa-waiver scheme to visit many countries in the EU.

It will cost £6.28 and will cover a three-year period to allow people to enter the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland) for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will still be valid for the time being. Then the UK will provide its own version of the card called the UK Global Health Insurance Card.

The new card will cover existing or chronic illnesses, routine maternity care and emergencies.

Free mobile phone data roaming will end and British passport holders will no longer be able to use the EU passport queue at airports and other borders.

If you plan to drive whilst on holiday, from January 1, many EU countries will require you to have an International Driving Permit which costs £5.50 from the Post Office.

You will also have to apply for a free of charge ‘green card’ to prove you have the right car insurance.

If you’re on a flight to or from an EU country which – due to the airline’s fault – is delayed by more than three hours or your flight is cancelled altogether, you are still entitled to between £110 and £540 per person in compensation.

Working abroad

Short-term business trips, less than 90 days are permitted without a visa.

Managers can stay for up to three years and trainees for one year.

Qualifications issued in the UK for professions such as nurses and doctors will now not be recognised in the EU.

Instead, those wishing to work abroad will have to gain new recognition depending on the member state they wish to work in.


The UK has pulled out of the EU-funded student exchange programme Erasmus which was established in 1987.

Instead, students will be allowed the chance to compete for places to study abroad on a new scheme named after Bletchley Park code breaker Alan Turing.