It took a long time, but at the turn of the year the Brexit finally takes effect.

Officially, the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union as early as 31 January, but at the turn of the year, the transition period ends, allowing the island state to comply with last year's EU rules.

They will be replaced by a new trade and cooperation agreement.

With it, many things change immediately.

A large part of the changes concerns the activities of companies and authorities, but there is also a lot that affects the lives of many ordinary Finns.

Ilta-Sanomat compiled the most important of these, which are currently known.

More detailed information on some of the changes will not be available until 2021.

The agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom is 1246 pages long, much to be researched and interpreted.

The queue stood at Heathrow Airport in London on December 21.Photo: Tim Ireland / Xinhua via ZUMA / MVPhotos


From now on, those traveling to Finland from the United Kingdom must comply with the same restrictions and regulations as other people arriving in Finland from outside the EU.

However, EU citizens can travel to the UK visa-free for up to six months.

The passport must be valid, but until October 2021, the Finnish identity card will also be valid as a travel document.

As a new addition to the travel routines, passport control will be added, which is why it is worth arriving at the airport earlier than before.

In practice, traveling to the UK has been reminiscent of traveling to the United States since the beginning of the year.

Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

It has been speculated that Brexit could also reduce air route options, but according to Jari Pöntinen, Director of the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, it is still too early to say anything about this.

- At the moment, there is no such precise information available that at Traficom we would still be able to take a position on how Brexit affects the number of route alternatives, Pöntinen says.

Healthcare on the go

Healthcare in the UK plays a big role for travelers there as before.

The European Health Insurance Card will continue to provide the necessary care at the same price as the locals, says Marja-Terttu Mäkiranta, Government Counselor at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.


With the transport of pets, there will be changes with brexit.

In the future, bringing a dog, cat or ferret will require a health certificate and rabies vaccination.

In addition, dogs should be vaccinated against tapeworms.

Pets can only be brought to Finland via Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

For example, a British person traveling to Lapland with a dog must make a stopover at Helsinki-Vantaa and find out about the pet.

From the EU, a pet can be exported to the UK with an EU pet passport, as before.

Driving license

Finnish driving licenses are valid even after brexit in the UK.

- The exchange of a Finnish driving license for a British driving license is also possible, at least for the time being, without a separate theory or driving test, says Traficom's team leader Henna Anttila.

Roaming charges

Using the internet in the UK is likely to be significantly more expensive in the future, as with brexit, common EU regulations on maximum roaming charges will no longer apply.

Roaming means that the services of one operator are used in the network of another operator.

It is therefore a question of a Finnish passenger using the Internet with his own Finnish subscription in the network of a company operating in the United Kingdom.

In the future, telecommunications companies will agree on payments on a commercial basis.

- In this case, for example, roaming prices for calls while visiting the UK may increase or there may be an additional charge for using the internet.

Consumer prices for roaming calls and data usage and their changes ultimately depend on the commercial agreements between the home operator and the UK operators, Traficom's lawyer Jarmo Riikonen explains.

So far, Finnish operators have not reported any changes in prices.

When the Erasmus exchange ends, it will be more difficult for Finland to become an exchange student in the UK. Photo: Toby Melville / Reuters


With Brexit, the Erasmus student exchange program ends.

Mikko Nupponen, Director of the National Board of Education's Erasmus + Office, says that in the future it will be more difficult and more expensive for Finland to become an exchange student in the United Kingdom.

- When going through Erasmus for 3-6 months, there was no need to pay tuition fees and the co-operation worked well.

Now the finished mechanism exits.

Not that it prevents you from going on your own, but in practice the student exchange if not now stops then at least decreases sharply.

For example, in the academic year 2018–19, 464 university students went to Britain for exchange abroad and 118 for internships through the program.

Students starting their studies in the academic year 2020–2021 or before can complete their studies with the current tuition fees and student loan terms.

They also retain the status of a “home fee” comparable to a British student, Nupponen says.

During this time, there will also be no change in Kela's study support.

- Next autumn, the situation of those who intend to study there will be considerably more difficult.

Yes, it is certainly still possible, but it will come with fees and visa requirements.

Online store

After the turn of the year, all flows of goods between the EU and the UK must be cleared through customs in both the EU and the UK.

For the average citizen, this is important when shopping online.

Shipments worth more than € 22 must be cleared through customs and subject to VAT, usually 24%.

Purchases of more than 150 euros are also subject to customs duty.

The rough rule of thumb is that customs will raise the price of an order by about 30 percent.

However, in some product groups, for example in almost all computer equipment, there are virtually no customs duties.

The decisive factor is whether the product is sent to Finland from Great Britain or perhaps from an online store located in the EU, Olli-Pekka Penttilä, Director of Statistics at Customs, explains.

- If the goods are delivered from an EU country warehouse, there is no need for customs clearance.

Then it is Union goods.

Photo: Bart Biesemans / Reuters

However, it may be impossible for an online subscriber to know from which warehouse the goods come, Penttilä points out.

Few online stores say this directly.

However, the ultimate responsibility for customs clearance lies with the customer.

Customs clearance can be done yourself in the Customs online service, but usually the freight forwarder asks the customer for permission to perform the customs clearance on his behalf.

In that case, the subscriber has to pay a handling fee, the amount of which varies depending on the company.

No customs duty is charged if the goods are made in Britain or the EU.

If, on the other hand, the goods are made in China, for example, the goods are subject to customs duties.

- The country of origin of the goods is the most significant here.

In addition to ordering, the return of products also becomes more complicated.

Refunds leaving outside the EU must be declared to Customs, after which it is possible to apply for a refund of import duties paid on the product.

Ecommerce shoppers may also have to pay return costs more often.

Moving to the UK

Moving to the UK will be much more difficult in the future.

The country has said it intends to score those seeking work there on the basis of, among other things, education, language skills and promised income.

Additional points can also be earned if there is a labor shortage in the applicant's field.

A minimum of 70 points is required to obtain a work permit.

EU citizens do not receive special treatment in the process.

According to the BBC, English language skills and a job offer from a suitable party already guarantee 50 points.

It says Britain intends to attract a highly skilled workforce in particular, and no visas will be issued for “cheap labor”.


  • Britain’s secession from the European Union began with the 2016 consultative referendum.

    51.9 percent voted in favor.

  • The resignation on 31 January 2020 was delayed several times, as the resignation agreement was negotiated at length and was rejected three times by the British Parliament.

  • Parliament approved the agreement on Wednesday.

    The European Parliament is expected to approve it early this year.

  • The pain points of the negotiations included fishing rights and the Irish border customs border.