International relocation after Brexit: what you need to know

The Brexit is officially a fact by now. This means that the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union, which makes it a ‘third country’.

The changes that come with this, will also influence the international relocation business. This article will explain which new customs, tax and other regulations are in place when moving between EU member states and the UK.

brexit and international relocation

Moving to the UK after Brexit

EU citizens seeking to go the UK, must now comply with UK domestic immigration laws. Free movement no longer applies. An international passport will be sufficient for a stay up to 90 days (within a 180-day period). If you want to live in the UK for a longer period or permanently you may need to apply for a visa, depending on the purpose and the length of the stay. You can apply for one here. In some cases you are also required to pay an immigration health surcharge to cover the cost of any medical treatment in the UK.

General regulations for goods moving to the UK

Goods moving from the EU to the UK and vice versa also need to undergo certain regulations. Goods need to be declared to customs and are potentially chargeable to duty and import VAT in the destination country.

About the transport of residence relief system

When private individuals transfer their country of residence from the EU to the UK whilst taking every household effect and personal property with them, they can call on the transport of residence relief system and avoid paying any VAT or other duty costs. To appeal to this system the person also needs to fulfill the following requirements:

  • The person must have been a non-UK resident for at least 12 months
  • The person must have owned the goods for 6 months or more

Moving to Europe after Brexit

UK residents looking to move to EU will need to check the relevant country embassy website, since the regulations will be done on a country-by-country basis. Highly skilled workers can apply for a blue card which gives them the right to live and work in an EU country.

Tip: check your job qualifications in the country of destination

Some professional qualifications like vet, nurse, pharmacist etc. are not automatically valid in every country. You must have your qualifications recognized by each country you want to practice it in. You can check with the UK Embassy in your new country if you are allowed to do your job there.

Can I still live and work in the EU or the UK?

Approximately around 850.000 UK nationals are currently living in the EU and around 4.000.000 EU citizens have been granted residence status in the UK. British expats in the EU or EU citizens in the UK who were already living in that country before January 2021 can continue to work, live and study in their host country whilst remaining their right to healthcare, social security benefits and pensions. The only condition is that they must register as a resident in the country.

Can I bring my pet with me with just a pet passport?

When moving to the EU, your pet passport issued in the UK will no longer be valid. From now on, your pet has to have a valid health certificate (AHC) to move abroad. This certificate needs to be signed by an official vet. This certificate proofs that your dog, cat or ferret is healthy and microchipped. When moving to the UK from the EU your pet passport will be sufficient.


International relocation might be more of a hassle since the Brexit. But after all it is still manageable. You just need to take on a few more additional hoops. Compas International Movers is more than happy to help you go through this process.