Brexit and citizens – No-deal withdrawal

If a withdrawal agreement is not ratified before the withdrawal date of 29 March 2019, and the withdrawal date is not postponed by unanimous agreement of the EU and the UK, the transition period cannot begin.

In this case, the UK will withdraw from the EU without an agreement at 1.00 a.m. Finnish time on 30 March 2019, resulting in a “no-deal” or “hard” Brexit. This means that the application of EU law (including international agreements binding on the EU) to and in the UK will cease, and that the UK will become an external country to the EU (a ‘third country’) with no special arrangements. 

Each Ministry is responsible for preparing for the aspects of a no-deal withdrawal that concern its administrative branch.

The tasks of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs include supervising the rights and interests of Finns abroad and providing consular services at Finnish missions abroad.

Travel after a no-deal withdrawal

United Kingdom citizens travelling to Finland

It is not yet certain what a no-deal withdrawal will mean in practice for short-term travel to Finland or the United Kingdom. Travellers may be exempt from visa requirements or may require a visa.

In November 2018, the European Commission proposed granting visa-free travel to the EU for UK nationals travelling for short stays, but the matter is still under discussion.

If a no-deal withdrawal results in a visa requirement, citizens of the United Kingdom wishing to travel to Finland would apply for Finnish visas at Finnish missions or visa centres. Finland grants Schengen area visas and processes visa applications according to the Schengen Visa Code.
Read more about entering Finland.

Finnish citizens travelling to the United Kingdom

If the UK withdraws from the EU without a separate agreement, Finns travelling to the country would apply for visas at the UK’s missions and visa centres.

A valid passport would continue to be accepted as a travel document. A no-deal Brexit may, however, affect the amount of time for which a passport must be valid following a trip to the UK.

A decision has not yet been made on whether a national identity card will continue to be accepted as a travel document when travelling between the UK and the EU.

Read more about the regulations for entering the United Kingdom.

Consular services for Finnish citizens abroad

The Finnish diplomatic and consular missions abroad have the responsibility to advise, guide and help consular service recipients so they can handle matters independently. The missions also provide assistance to Finnish nationals in distress abroad; in other words, they provide consular services

In accordance with the Consular Protection Directive, a citizen of an EU Member State has the right to receive certain consular services from an embassy or consulate of any EU Member State. One of these services is the issuance of an Emergency Travel Document.

In the event of a no-deal withdrawal, citizens of EU27 countries will not be able to receive consular protection from the UK. From the perspective of consular protection, the United Kingdom has one of the broadest consular networks of all EU Member States. It is the only Member State with consular representation in a few countries (including Barbados, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands).

From the perspective of consular crisis preparedness in the European Union, the UK’s withdrawal will have an impact in those countries where the UK plays a ‘leading nation’ role. It must be noted, however, that in consular crises, EU Member States already engage in cooperation with many third countries. Cooperation with the United Kingdom in consular crises will presumably still be possible.

Finnish citizens in the United Kingdom

The Finnish Embassy in London is closely monitoring the UK’s preparations for its withdrawal from the EU. The mission supervises the rights and status of Finnish citizens in the UK. It has collected answers to frequently asked questions and provides a list of links with comprehensive information for Finns in the UK.

Citizens of the United Kingdom in Finland

The Finnish Immigration Service oversees the rights of residence of UK citizens in Finland.