EU Exit advice

Like all Government Departments across the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS), the Department for the Economy (DfE) is preparing for EU Exit (commonly referred to as "Brexit").

This page will advise you on issues affecting the economy in Northern Ireland and point you to where you can get the best information.

A wide range of advice for businesses and employers is available at:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Invest NI has compiled a list of FAQs for customers and stakeholders on the consequence of EU Exit for Northern Ireland.

Getting ready for Brexit

Information to get public and business owners ready for Brexit can be found on GOV.UK website:

No Deal and Transfer of Personal Data

If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, new legal restrictions will apply to the transfer of personal data between the EU/European Economic Area and the UK. Businesses can, however, take action now to prepare.

Further information, and the results of a recent online survey on business preparedness, is available at:

Telecoms

Telecoms General

Will telecoms by impacted by EU Exit?

Telecoms services are not expected to be significantly affected in the event of leaving the EU. 

EU Exit - Businesses providing telecoms services

Businesses that provide telecoms services might wish to use the Government's checklist to understand what you need to do to prepare for no deal Brexit: 

EU Exit - Mobile Roaming

This is meant for guidance only. Mobile customers should consider whether they need separate professional advice before making specific preparations.

What impact might there be for people who live in Northern Ireland?

Consumers and businesses in border areas should be aware of ‘inadvertent roaming’. This is when a mobile signal in a border region is stronger from the country across the border. In this case, a consumer from Northern Ireland in a border region of Northern Ireland would roam onto an Irish network as the mobile phone signal is stronger from a network in Ireland.

To help address this issue, the government has passed legislation that in the event of no deal, UK law will retain the EU Roaming Regulation provisions that operators must make information available to their customers on how to avoid inadvertent roaming in border regions. And that operators must take reasonable steps to protect their customers from paying roaming charges for inadvertently accessing roaming services.

The availability and pricing of mobile roaming in the EU, including across the island of Ireland, would be a commercial decision for the mobile operators.

Some mobile operators have stated that they have no current plans to change their approach to mobile roaming after the UK leaves the EU. In addition, the Government is open to facilitating discussions between mobile operators to ensure that future arrangements are as effective as possible. However, surcharge-free mobile roaming in the EU may not continue to be standard across every mobile phone package when the UK leaves the EU.

GOV.UK has the latest information on mobile roaming for businesses and consumers across the UK:

The State Aid rules following EU Exit

In the UK Government White Paper, "The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union", which was published in July 2018, it was proposed that the UK would commit to a common rulebook on State Aid, and this would be enforced and supervised in the UK by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

It should be noted that the CMA’s State Aid role is subject to parliamentary approval of the draft State aid ‘no deal’ Statutory Instrument (The State Aid (EU Exit) Regulations 2019).

You can read more about the CMA's proposed role if there is no EU Exit deal on the CMA website.

Further guidance on State Aid can be found at DfE State Aid pages.

Further Education

I live in the Republic of Ireland – can I still enrol or continue my course at a Further Education College in Northern Ireland after the UK’s Exit from the EU?

There will be no change. Under the Common Travel Area commitments, residents from the Republic of Ireland will continue to be able to access vocational education and training courses at Further Education Colleges in Northern Ireland subject to meeting the relevant eligibility conditions. 

For further information on rights of Irish and UK citizens under the Common Travel Area please refer to: Common Travel Area guidance

I am an EU National (other than ROI) – can I still receive support to complete or commence a course at a Further Education College in Northern Ireland after the UK’s Exit from the EU?

EU, EEA, EFTA and Swiss Nationals (including their family members) who are completing or commencing a course at a Further Education college in Northern Ireland in the 2020/21 academic year will remain eligible for home fee status and financial support for the duration of their course subject to meeting the relevant eligibility requirements.

For further information please refer to:

In the event of a no deal scenario, EU, EEA, EFTA and Swiss nationals will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 31 December 2020 to remain beyond this date. The UK government has published arrangements for:

What happens if examinations are disrupted?

The NI Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) has prepared a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for schools and colleges in the event that they should face any potential disruption to the conduct of examinations. The FAQs may be accessed at:

Higher Education

Information on the Erasmus+ programme is available at:

Horizon 2020

The latest information on the implications of Brexit on access to Horizon 2020 is available at:

EU Fund Management

Current European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund programmes will continue through to a natural conclusion in the event of a withdrawal agreement being approved.

In a no deal scenario, the HMG Guarantee will be called upon to permit current programmes to complete in an orderly fashion. Colleagues in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have published programme specific Technical Notices on their website for interested parties:

Minerals and Petroleum

Will EU Exit impact on minerals and petroleum licensing in Northern Ireland?

No. EU Exit will, however, result in legislative changes to ensure that the policies and procedures in place in Northern Ireland have an appropriate statutory basis.  

Tourism 

Do I need a visa or are there be any additional passport requirements to travel to Ireland or Northern Ireland?

No. There are no additional visa or passport requirements for UK or EU visitors travelling to Ireland or Northern Ireland or between the two. Visas will continue to apply to citizens of other countries.

For further information see:

Will I be able to bring my car to the island of Ireland after EU Exit?

Yes, ferries will continue to operate and visitors can bring their cars. You now need to have a green card (evidence of motor insurance cover) and this is available on request from your motor insurance provider. UK drivers towing a UK registered caravan or trailer will need two green cards, one for the caravan or trailer and one for the vehicle towing it.

Will I need a special driving licence after EU Exit?

The latest information is available at nidirect - Driving outside Northern Ireland.

Will drivers need additional or separate vehicle insurance when driving in Ireland or Northern Ireland or between the two?

The latest information is available on nidirect - Driving cross-border and the Green Card

Will visitors need any special travel documents to visit the island of Ireland after EU Exit?

Visitors should continue to carry the usual international travel documents when visiting Ireland or Northern Ireland after EU Exit, such as passport, identity cards etc. Visitors should also have in place the usual travel and other insurance cover.

Visitors travelling by car will need to have a green card (proof of motor insurance) which is available on request from their motor insurance provider.

Will there be delays crossing the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland?

We do not anticipate any delays in crossing the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Will visitors be able to rent a car on the island of Ireland after EU Exit?

Yes, visitors from the UK and the EU will enjoy the same conditions as before when hiring a car in Ireland or Northern Ireland after EU Exit. Existing practices will continue for citizens of other countries.

If I hire a car in Ireland, can I drive it to Northern Ireland and vice-versa?

Yes. UK and EU drivers should present the same license and insurance documentation as previously required. Existing practices will continue for citizens of other countries.

Will I be able to use public transport (trains, buses etc) to travel to/from Northern Ireland after EU Exit?

Yes, visitors will continue to travel within the island of Ireland or between Ireland and Northern Ireland on public transport services. Visitors should continue to carry the usual international travel documents (passport, identity cards etc) as they do now.

Will visitors require additional or separate insurance for travel to Ireland or Northern Ireland?

Visitors are advised to consult their insurance providers and should continue to carry the usual international travel and health care documentation.

Will we need to make special arrangements for coach tourism to Ireland and Northern Ireland after EU Exit?

After EU Exit, the UK will become an independent member of the Interbus Agreement. This will ensure that coach holidays and tours continue immediately, enable UK operators to run services into all EU countries and ensure UK coach drivers with a UK CPC can continue to drive within the EU.

Further information for UK coach drivers is available at:

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