The UK and EU have finally reached a free trade agreement after months of negotiations, the BBC reports. It allows both sides to continue trading without additional taxes, limits and border checks as well as implying some important changes into how the UK and EU will interact.
Britain actually left the European Union on 31 January 2020 but most of the rules remained the same. The deal marks the end of the Brexit transition period and will come into force on January 1st, 2021
Apart from the agreements on trade issues, the 1246 page deal document on cross-border law enforcement and fishing policy, mentions some important points for students. At first, the United Kingdom will no longer participate in a university exchange programme such as Erasmus that gave British students the possibility to spend part of their study in a European country. However, this change doesn’t apply to students in Northern Ireland.
Until the end of the 2021-22 academic year, students and universities’ staff will be able to complete Erasmus mobility periods and receive fundings. Meanwhile, the UK government will work on replacing the programme with the new national option called the Turing Scheme that would allow British students “not just to go to European universities, but to go to the best universities in the world” as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
Also, the UK nationals who want to study, work, or live in an EU country would have to deal with new regulations. British citizens will be able to stay in most European Union countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, but they might need a visa or permit to enter the university or get a job there. If one’s degree course in a European university starts after 1 January 2021, they would need to pay a different fee than it was before.
Before visiting Europe you will have to check the following things: if your passport has at least 6 months left and is less than 10 years old, if you need travel insurance, if you have enough money to stay in the country, an appropriate driving document, etc. You can find all the details about entering the EU after January 1 here.