Brexit: a reminder of the main points


On 23 June 2016, the British public voted to leave the European Union (EU). The withdrawal procedure was triggered on 29 March 2017. In principle, this procedure should have lasted a maximum of two years, meaning that the United Kingdom should have left the EU on 29 March 2019. However, the European Council first decided to extend the procedure until 31 October 2019, and then again until 31 January 2020, following the new withdrawal agreement concluded in October 2019 by the United Kingdom and the European Union.

If this agreement enters into force, the United Kingdom would effectively leave the EU on 1 February 2019 (unless the agreement provides another date for its entry into force), however a transition period is envisaged which will last until 31 December 2020 (this period may be extended by a maximum of two years, by mutual agreement). During this transition period, EU law will still apply to the United Kingdom, meaning that the situation of Belgian residents already living in the United Kingdom will remain unchanged.

During this transition period, the EU and the United Kingdom will negotiate agreements setting out the framework for their future relations, upon expiry of the transition period. It is these future agreements that would apply to Belgians wishing to travel to the United Kingdom after the expiry of the transition period.

The British Parliament still has to ratify the new draft withdrawal agreement. At this stage, all scenarios remain possible, including no-deal Brexit.