Find how to Brexit-proof your next UK/EU holiday with this simple guide on what Brexit means to Singaporeans visiting the United Kingdom soon.

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What’s going on with the Brexit?

The political uncertainty over Brexit continues and do the rounds of talks between the EU and the UK. As of now, what we know is that Brexit has been delayed for another half a year until 31 October 2019.
If Theresa May’s deal goes forward and the UK leaves, you can expect a transition period until the end of 2020, during which not much will change. If UK “brexits” without a deal, then it is all a big question mark. We don’t know for sure what will be happening after the formal exit.

Meanwhile, what does it mean for you?

  • In the short-term, very little will have change for visitors from outside the EU during the summer of 2019.

Great Britain is still a member (until at least the end of October 2019), and while the governments negotiate the conditions of the split, the privileges and requirements for tourists will stay the same.

But let’s look at the most likely future scenarios so you can plan the next European/ British escapade without worries.

How does this affect my holiday as a Singaporean Citizen?

Image credit: Mike Stezycki | Unsplash

Are there going to be longer queues at the airports?

When Brexit happens, some worry that the immigration processes and rules will change and this might result in more time spent at the Airport just to enter the UK or other EU countries.
It is a bit soon to say how Brexit will affect this when we don’t know yet if there will be a deal or not. Although, the British government had assured that even without an agreement, travellers shouldn’t be delayed at the airports as they don’t predict any significant changes to the security screening at the airports.
The EU has also proposed measures to avoid any additional screening or security steps that might delay passengers arriving or heading to the UK.

For UK citizens:

According to the British government, the European Commission has proposed that in a no-deal situation, if you are a British citizen, you would not need a visa for short stays in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU.
You would be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180 days without a visa as a tourist (this doesn’t allow you to work).

To remember: Countries in 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.


What about the currency?

The UK wasn’t a part of the EuroZone (the area where Euros are the legal tender) to begin with, so the currency remains the same, pounds sterling.
Even after Brexit, you will still be able to exchange Euros (as any other currency) in money changers in the UK. Although, don’t expect very good exchange rates.

And there will be new border controls?

Image credit: Bruno Martins | Unsplash

The UK wasn’t part of the Schengen agreement that establishes that 26 European countries maintain open borders and visa-free travel.
To enter the UK, travellers were already asked to present passports and follow visa regulations. In that sense, there are no significant changes expected here. At most, depending on what kind of deal or no deal is struck, EU citizens might be asked to join the same queues as the other non-EU visitors to the UK. Will this mean bigger lines at the airports? Like we mentioned above, we can’t be sure yet.

Will we still have Duty-Free?

The duty-free allowances change from time to time, and that will continue to happen, with or without Brexit.
If you travel from the UK back to Singapore, you were always allowed to shop duty-free, and that should continue to be the norm. What might change in the future, however, is the kind of duty-free shopping that will be made available.

For travels between the UK and the EU (and vice-versa), there isn’t duty-free shopping. You will pay the tax. This will most likely change, depending on how the Brexit deal is struck.
In the future, you might be able to shop duty-free if you travel between London and Paris, for example.

What about the VAT?

Image credit: Toa Heftiba | Unsplash

Well, the  VAT is a European sales tax that you can claim when they fly back to Singapore. If you are travelling in the summer of 2019, you can still reclaim VAT.

Once the Brexit agreement is confirmed, the UK might change their procedures and not apply the VAT. But they may impose their own sales taxes on products. We will have to wait and see if there is a new UL tax on goods and services that will be implemented and whether travellers will be able to reclaim it.

UK Visa requirements for Singaporean Citizens

Currently, Singaporeans can visit the UK for a holiday or short stay up to 6 months without a visa. As usual, your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. If you’re planning to visit the UK for more than six months, or for any purpose other than tourism, then you will need to apply for the appropriate visa. This is not likely to change after Brexit.

EU Visa requirements for Singaporean Citizens

EU Visa requirements for Singaporean won’t be affected by Brexit. The current visa specifications still apply.

There is only one change expected, although it isn’t Brexit related: the ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System).

Travellers to Europe from Singapore will be required to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver for Singaporeans from 2021 when the new European travel visa waiver comes into effect. The ETIAS is being implemented by the European Union to increase border security around the Schengen zone in the light of recent terrorist attacks.

Let’s head to Europe!

So, it seems like the Brexit won’t affect your travel plans.
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