Details on what Northern Ireland businesses should do, and how goods can move around, have been published – but the government concedes there’s still some uncertainty.
It says there’ll be full guidance by the end of December.
The UK and EU have agreed to keep an all-but-invisible border, without checkpoints, between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
It means Northern Irish businesses can trade freely with the EU from 2021 without new paperwork or checks.
There’ll be a little bit more paperwork for goods travelling between Northern Ireland and Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). But the government says its proposed Internal Market Bill – which controversially would give ministers power to change aspects of the EU withdrawal agreement – would make things easier.
Discussions between the UK and the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol are ongoing – but there’s likely to be more regulation for items moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, than the other way around.
What is still to be resolved?
Aside from trade, officials are trying to agree other things including:
If you move to an EU country (except Ireland), Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland from January, it’s unclear if UK pensions claimed in those countries will be uprated (increased) each year, like in the UK.
Also, some benefits may only be paid for a limited time.
The government says it’s seeking to maintain arrangements in some areas, but rules are still to be finalised.
If you’re already living in the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland by 31 December, the situation is clearer.
You’ll be covered by the withdrawal agreement and will receive any UK benefits and state pension increases as long as you stay living in the same country. You’ll also be able to start claiming a UK pension from 1 January.
Meanwhile, British people living in the EU with UK bank accounts should check for changes from January.