Brexit: What changes for Romanian citizens starting January 2021
As the Brexit transition period ended on December 31, 2020, new rules apply for EU citizens, Romanians included, who want to travel, study or work in the United Kingdom. From travel documents and health coverage to a points-based immigration system, a host of new rules and regulations apply starting January 1.
Travel for holidays or short trips
Romanian citizens who travel to the U.K. for holidays or short trips for a period of up to six months in one year, do not need a visa.
Until September 30, 2021, EU citizens, Romanians included, can enter the UK using their passport or ID card. But starting October 1, 2021, they will only be able to enter the country with a passport. An exception to the rule, until December 31 2025, applies for EU citizens registered under the EU Settlement Scheme or are eligible to do so.
The conditions change for those who wish to undertake lucrative activities during their stay of up to six months in the UK, and they need to obtain a visa.
When traveling to the UK, Romanian citizens need to consider the changes related to border controls, card payments and cash, and roaming, among others.
The transactions between EU and UK are no longer covered by EU norms limiting inter-bank fees. This could lead to additional fees when paying by card, and the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) recommends checking the fees on payments made in the UK before travel.
Roaming services providers undertaking their activity in the EU might charge their clients an additional fee for the use of roaming services in the UK. Again, the advice is to check the tariffs of the mobile phone services provider before the visit.
When it comes to border controls for EU visitors, no changes are expected, at least until July 1, 2021. MAE advises travelers to check frequently the updates posted here. Furthermore, cash sums of GBP 10,000 or more need to be declared, either online, at least 72 hours before travel (further details and the link here), or at the border point, if the online statement could not be made.
The rules on what can be brought into the UK, from pets and plants to goods, are outlined here.
Health Insurance & medicines
EU citizens, Romanians included, who are on a temporary stay in the UK, for instance for tourist or business purposes, can still benefit from emergency care based on the European health insurance card (EHIC). For stays longer than six months, they need to pay the ‘immigration health surcharge’ (IHS), allowing healthcare access through the National Health Service (NHS). More info on the HIS here. An outline in Romanian, provided by the National Health Insurance House (CNAS), is available here.
The UK Government advises travelers to get travel insurance with health coverage. More details on healthcare for visitors to the UK from the EU here.
Those who travel to the UK as visitors are advised to check with their doctor the status and classification of their personal-use medicines. For tourist trips longer than three months, those who have drugs obtained on a restrictive prescription need to obtain a special permit. For specific clarifications, MAE advises contacting, before traveling, the Drug and Firearms Licensing Unit (firstname.lastname@example.org/ 0044 (0) 20 7035 6330)
Driving license & car insurance
As both Romania and the UK are signatories of the 1968 Vienna Convention on road traffic, the use/change of Romanian and British driving licenses will be possible after December 31, 2020.
UK authorities do not request an international driving license for holders of Romanian licenses traveling for tourist purposes.
Nonetheless, Romanian citizens traveling to Romania on a British license need to check the specific conditions in every state they transit until arriving in Romania as some countries request an international driving permit starting January 1, 2021. More details here.
Car insurance is compulsory on the UK territory and, starting January 1 of this year, proof of insurance is needed. The authorities recommend travelers to contact their insurer before traveling to the UK to make sure they have all the required papers.
Studying in the UK
Those who wish to study in the UK and are over 16 can need to apply for a Student Visa. Eligible persons need to have been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor, have enough money to support themselves and pay for their course, and have the appropriate level of English. Applications can be made online for both those who apply outside the UK and those who apply inside the country. More details here.
Working in the UK
All EU citizens who want to work in the UK need to apply for a visa under a points-based immigration system. The conditions of the new immigration system do not apply to EU citizens who have already registered in the EU Settlement Scheme or are eligible to do so by June 30, 2021.
The visa can be obtained based on criteria specific to various professional routes, covering the work offer, the specific salary requirement for their occupation, and the level of English. Specific routes exist for skilled workers, health & care workers, and highly-qualified workers – global talent.
A total of 70 points is needed to be able to apply to work in the UK: 50 points can be obtained on the mandatory criteria, while the remaining 20 points are “tradable” – applicants can ‘trade’ them to get the required number of points. For instance, they could trade their qualifications against a lower salary to get the necessary number of points.
A job offer by an approved sponsor/ employer (20 points), a job at the appropriate skill level (20 points), and speaking English at the required level (10 points) are the required criteria. The tradable criteria include a salary GBP 25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession, whichever is higher (20 points), a job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee (20 points), a Ph.D. in a subject relevant to the job (10 points). A factsheet is available here.
Health & care workers can apply for the Health and Care Visa, part of the Skilled Worker route. It allows them to come to work in the U.K. in eligible health occupations, with a job offer from the NHS, social care sector, or organizations that provide services to the NHS.
Several other routes are available for entrepreneurs, creatives, employees of multinationals, among others. The Start-up route is designed for those setting up an innovative business for the first time, while the Innovator route is for those with industry experience and at least GBP 50,000 funding. Applicants can be individuals or teams. A Creative route can be accessed by applicants in the creative industry entering the UK for short‑term contracts or engagements for up to 12 months. They need to have a confirmed job offer and their employment sponsored by a UK employer licensed by the Home Office.
Romanian nationals looking for seasonal work in the UK can apply through the Seasonal Workers Pilot, which has been extended until the end of 2021. It enables the recruitment of a limited number of temporary workers for specific roles in the horticultural sector. Those interested in coming to work at U.K. farms can do so for a period of up to six months.
The visa costs GBP 244, with a GBP 55 discount for citizens of Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.
Those who receive this type of visa can work in the job described in their certificate of sponsorship but cannot take a permanent job, work in a second job or a job that isn’t described in their certificate of sponsorship, get public funds, or bring family members with them. More details here.
All the routes are listed here.
The requests for a visa can be filed online, and applicants need to show they fulfill the requirements of the professional route they apply for. The list of visa fees can be checked here.
The Labor Ministry advised citizens who need clarifications on Brexit related issues to write at a dedicated email address (email@example.com) or contact the Romanian embassy in London (firstname.lastname@example.org)