What Does Brexit Mean for Expats Overseas?

brexitThere is still a lot of uncertainty about what Brexit will mean for us all. In particular, those who own homes abroad are undoubtedly concerned about how it will affect them.

Thinking about buying a property abroad?

It may be in your best interests to do so, before 29th March. Completing all the necessary paperwork, whilst there is still a clear understanding of what needs to be done, might save you a lot of hassle. Post Brexit, it may take some time for matters to settle down, and for even the veterans in the overseas property industry to fully understand how new laws put in place will have to be adhered to.

Clearly this has already occurred to many, as Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director for Taylor Wimpey España, stated the following, last summer: “Over the last year we have seen reservations of our Spanish properties by British buyers shoot up by 77%.

“In the Costa del Sol we’ve witnessed a 100% increase in reservations. It certainly seems that Brexit has not dampened British buyers’ appetite for holiday homes, at least not in Spain.

“If anything, the decision to leave the EU has pushed many into hurrying to purchase a home overseas before the UK actually leaves the EU.”

Driving abroad

The GOV.UK website has recently added guidance on preparing to drive in the EU after Brexit. It summarises what private and commercial drivers from the UK may need to do, after the UK leaves the EU.

Specifically for UK citizens driving abroad, this information details that extra documentation will be required. If the UK leaves without a deal, then an international driving permit (IDP) may be required to drive in the EU and EEA.

For those already living abroad, GOV.UK is instructing people to exchange their UK driving licence for a local EU driving licence before 29th March. Otherwise, you may have to take a driving test within the country you have moved to, in order to carry on driving there.

This new driving licence won’t affect those who still visit the UK, as it can be used as normal.

Changes to flights

Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2 and Jet2holidays, has recently commented on this matter, in an article for the Independent: “The worst thing that could happen is that we’re not able to fly to Europe. I think the chance of that happening is extremely low.

“I think we’ll end up with something in the middle, whereby we’re able to fly into Europe, but I think it might be more expensive and there might be restrictions.”

Checking in and out of the country

A no-deal Brexit may also result in longer queues at airport security, according to Tom Jenkins, Chief Executive of the European Tourism Association (ETOA).

He has said: “As some airports have UK arrivals coming in every 10 to 20 minutes, unless something is done now, we are going to run into major difficulties.

A spokesperson for Airlines UK has also said: “The commission has been clear UK passengers will be treated as being from a third country and this will likely mean extra checks at the border.

“Individual EU member states will have to plan accordingly depending on their own infrastructure needs.

The commission has told them in no uncertain terms that they should prepare their airports for no deal.”

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