Justice ministry: Hard Brexit would not mean new tourist visa requirements

Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).
Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Pro Patria) said on Thursday that a potential no-deal exit of United Kingdom from the European Union won't mean new visa requirements for tourists. However, there are several other legal areas where the communication between the EU and UK would change.

In the event of a hard Brexit, Brits arriving in Estonia after 29 March this year will be subject to legislation intended for third country citizens. This means that if they intend to stay in Estonia for a longer period of time, they need to apply for a residency permit after three months, when the visa-free period ends.

EU citizens living in the UK, Estonians among them, will have to reapply for the status of a permanent UK resident, a requirement that also extends to family members. Estonian citizens travelling to the UK after 29 March with the intention to stay will also have to apply for a residency permit.

Mr Reinsalu pointed out that the UK has declared that visa requirements will not be imposed on students studying at British higher education institutions as well as on tourists.

In the case of a no-deal Brexit, anyone driving to the UK with their own vehicle will need the international Green Card to prove they have sufficient international insurance coverage. The same will apply to cars with a British registration plate travelling to Estonia.

Mr Reinsalu also warned that there is no telling yet how communications will be organised, meaning that those frequently phoning numbers in the UK might have to expect roaming charges and should thus be careful.

Other changes include the use of the EU's European health insurance card, which would no longer be valid in the UK. Mr Reinsalu considers it "reasonable" for travellers to get private health insurance coverage for trips to the UK in such a situation.

Concerning online purchases from UK companies, people need to keep in mind that all legal disputes would have to be resolved in the UK in the case of a hard Brexit, Mr Reinsalu added, as all trade agreements between the EU and the UK would expire. On top of that, as the UK is in fact leaving the common market and customs area, the Tax and Customs Board after a no-deal Brexit will also treat the UK as a third country, with all the customs regulations implied.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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