News & Insights

Brexit’s Impact on Moving to the EU

Three Years On

This month marks three years since the UK officially left the EU, with 52% of the British population voting for Brexit in the referendum on the 23rd of June 2016. As the first sovereign country to leave, the political and social fallout of the decision was significant. Whilst there has been a definite impact on those living here in the UK, especially when it comes to the consequences of trade issues, the effects have been even more tangible for those living and working abroad. Despite the implementation of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, which was designed to limit the disruption to those living abroad as much as possible by securing the rights they had under EU laws, the overhaul of expat-friendly laws and legislations that had been in place for so long inevitably affected many UK expats.


With new restrictions imposed on UK nationals moving throughout the EU, you will now need to acquire a VISA if you intend on living in a country for over 3 months. The VISA requirements and process will differ from country to country, so it is important to make sure you are familiar with these before you make any plans to move abroad. You will not need a VISA if you are visiting EU countries for less than 3 months. 


Whilst healthcare for short-term stays in the EU was covered before Brexit by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), it is now not possible to apply for a new EHIC if you live in the UK. If you still have a valid EHIC, you can use this until the expiry date on the card is reached. Those who were living in the EU before Brexit might still be able to apply for a new EHIC card once their old one has expired, depending on their individual circumstances.

For UK nationals, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is the replacement for the EHIC and works in a similar way, offering free or reduced-cost healthcare if needed in the EU and Switzerland.

If you are planning to move to an EU country, you will probably need to take out a relevant health insurance policy to ensure you are covered, as the EHIC and GHIC is for short-term use only. For some UK nationals, the S1 form might enable them to have any healthcare costs reimbursed by the UK government

Finances Services

The most significant change when it comes to governing financial services in the EU post-Brexit is that financial services providers now need to ensure they are registered with the regulatory bodies associated with the country they are operating in which may slightly impact the way in which they operate. If you want to check that a firm or adviser is properly licensed, you can ask them to provide the relevant information.


Again, investments have gone largely unaltered in the way they are managed overseas, but the UK’s departure from the EU may mean that investments made before Brexit might no longer be appropriate or tax efficient. If you have any concerns about the volatility of an investment, it is always best to seek the advice of a professional adviser.

Property and Mortgages

Unfortunately, the impact of Brexit has made it more expensive to buy property in the EU if you are a UK national. The processes are often more complicated and take more time and incur higher charges. A lot of countries now also require bigger deposits on property purchases if you are from outside of the EU. However, with in-depth local knowledge and an understanding of tax efficiency, some of these costs can be offset, making property purchasing very possible for those looking to relocate.


Before Brexit, pensions could be transferred abroad almost automatically, this is no longer the case for UK nationals. If you are wanting to transfer your workplace pension overseas, this can be possible by setting up a QROPS, something a financial adviser would be able to assist you with.

If you are working overseas, you will also still be able to contribute to your pension until 2035.

If you are looking to move to the EU but are concerned about the effects of Brexit on the migration process, we can advise on the best practical and financial approach to your move.

If you would like to arrange a complimentary, no-obligation consultation, you can click the link below to get in touch.

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This communication is for informational purposes only based on our understanding of current legislation and practices which is subject to change and is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice form a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this communication is correct, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions

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