New Travel Processes and How They Might Affect You

The UK Government has recently released new rules and travel logistics that consider precaution & preparation for not only COVID-19, but also how laws changed when Brexit took place.

At SwanHealth, we work with an eclectic mix of contractors and temp workers, many of whom hold EU citizenship. The new rules specifically reference travel to and from the EU, which is why we felt it important to publish this message.
As restrictions ease and the summer holiday season continues, the ability to travel is finally within reach. Careful planning and a base understanding of new rules should lead to a stress free journey for you.

Understandably, one of the largest concerns when it comes to travel is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has seen the travel industry bend and twist its way through an ever changing gauntlet of restrictions. When making your plans it’s important to remember that your destination country may have different restrictions and safeguarding procedures than Great Britain, do your research before you travel. GB’s traffic-light system is fairly straight forward, but it can change at any point. Though recent changes seem to be towards more leniency than the opposite, it’s still in your best interest to check the status of your destination country frequently before you travel.

You can find out the most recent country restriction here.

For the most part, COVID restrictions are well publicized by the media, but in 2021 the pandemic is not the only change that may affect your plans. The UK’s departure from the EU caused paperwork, red tape an endless legislation amendments… some of which will affect that way that you’re able to carrying money or goods to and from the UK.

Here are a couple of examples:

If you are leaving Great Britain with commercial goods in your luggage or in a small vehicle, you must declare the goods before you leave by making one of the following:

  • A full export declaration.
  • A simple online declaration.
  • An oral declaration at the ‘goods to declare’ channel or the red point phone in the customs area at the port or airport.
  • A Declaration by conduct (not available if you carry commercial excise goods of any value).

Your full customs declaration must be submitted before you leave Great Britain if the goods you carry are worth more than £1,500 (medical locums, this will very likely be you) or they weigh more than 1,000kg. This is also the case if the goods you’re carrying are classed as an excise (i.e. alcohol, tobacco or fuel) or controlled goods (for example, toxic chemicals, firearms).

If your goods don’t meet these criteria then you can do one of the following:

  • Make a simple online declaration in the five days before you leave GB.
  • Make an oral declaration to Border Force officials.
  • Or, make a declaration by conduct.

More information on what you need to do when moving commercial goods in your baggage in or out of Great Britain or is available on GOV.UK. YouTube link.

If you are travelling to the EU this summer, what if you want to still bring goods back to Great Britain without paying duty and VAT?

You can bring some goods from the EU without having to pay UK tax or duty – these goods must be intended for personal use or you’re planning to give them as a gift.

The amount of goods that you can bring in is known as your ‘personal allowance’ (don’t get that confused with your tax code Personal Allowance!). The personal allowance rules apply whether you bought the goods from a shop on a high street, or at a duty-free shop at the airport, in the country that you visited.

HMRC has developed an online declaration service on which you can check your personal allowance to see what tax and duties may be due, declare any goods and pay any tax or duty.

For more information and a short video outlining details of personal allowances for Great Britain and Northern Ireland simply click here.

 The rules above do not cover the import/export requirements of the EU country you are visiting – once again, please plan ahead and do your research.

What if you are thinking about taking cash in and out of Great Britain?

Even if carrying large amounts of money when travelling isn’t a common occurrence to most people travelling for holiday or business, it’s still important to mention the guidelines for those who do.

If you are leaving or entering Great Britain with cash amounting to £10,000 or more, you must declare it to UK customs authorities. This also applies if you’re carrying that amount from Great Britain to Northern Ireland (but not the other way round – NI to GB). You must declare cash in the three days before you travel.

You can declare online for:

  • Cash you’re carrying between Great Britain and any other country.
  • Cash you’re carrying between Northern Ireland and a non-EU country, this includes Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Again, the rules above do not cover requirements for cash declarations at your destination country.

It’s important to note is there have also been changes in the requirements of passports, visa paperwork and insurance documents for travelers to the EU. You can read those changes here.

We hope that this short article has given you enough tips and references to approach your travels with confidence. After the past 18 months we all deserve a bit of a break!

Keep yourself updated with any future changes by checking on GOV.UK for their latest news before you travel and we will also try to keep you updated.

Stay safe.