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What is Brexit?

Brexit is the name given to the process where the United Kingdom (UK) will end its membership of the European Union (EU). The decision to leave the EU was made after a public vote (referendum) took place in the UK in June 2016.

Why is Britain leaving the EU?

A referendum was held on Thursday 23 June 2016, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. The leave vote won with 51.9%, with the remain vote at 48.1%. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting.

When will Brexit happen?

The UK will currently leave the EU on 31 October 2019, although this date and time might change after political developments in the UK.

How does Brexit happen?

The UK leaves the EU by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which enables an EU Member State to leave. Article 50 was triggered by the British Prime Minister on 29 March 2017. There was a two year negotiating period for the UK and EU to decide on the terms of leaving so the original date of leaving was 29 March 2019. Although a Withdrawal Agreement (or Deal) was reached, this has yet to be agreed by the UK Parliament so a short extension has been agreed to 31 October 2019, to enable a way forward to be agreed.

What will change when Brexit happens?

If the UK leaves with a Deal in place, there will be a transition period until 31 December 2020. This means that very little will change in day to day life, even though the UK will no longer be an EU member. If the UK does not agree a Deal (No Deal or Day 1 No Deal/D1ND) then some effects will be felt immediately.

What is the transition period?

This transition period is currently only due to happen if the UK and the EU agree a Brexit deal.

It refers to a period of time to get everything in place and allow businesses and others to prepare for the moment when the new post-Brexit rules between the UK and the EU begin.

It also allows more time for the details of the new relationship to be fully agreed. Free movement will continue during the transition period. The UK will be able to create its own trade deals, although they won't be able to come into force until 1 January 2021. 

What needs to be agreed before the UK leaves?

The UK and EU will need to agree on fundamental issues like the rights of people from EU countries living in the UK, the border between Ireland (which will remain in the EU) and Northern Ireland (which will be outside the EU), and what sort of trading relationship might exist between the UK and the EU. These negotiations are currently taking place.

Why has the Deal not been agreed in the UK?

There is a lot of disagreement in the House of Commons (UK Parliament) about the best way to leave the EU. The Withdrawal Agreement does not have the support of the majority of MPs. They are currently trying to find an arrangement which would be acceptable both to a majority of the Commons and the EU.

What happens if the deal does not get through the House of Commons?

There are number of possible scenarios, including:

  • leaving the EU without a deal. This is often called Day One No Deal (D1ND)
  • another EU referendum (this can only happen if the UK government brings forward legislation to hold one and a majority in the Commons supports it)
  • a general election, which is the Labour party's preferred option but it would need a no-confidence vote in the PM to be passed, or for the UK Government to table a motion for an election which is passed by the House of Commons
  • the ‘indicative votes’ that have been held in the Commons could indicate a preferred exit arrangement that MPs force the government to negotiate 
  • revoking the intention to leave altogether and staying in the EU

How will No Deal affect Jersey?

What preparations has the Government of Jersey made for No Deal?

We have made contingency plans in case the UK leaves the EU with No Deal. We have worked across Government, and closely with the UK Government, to develop appropriate responses to any negative impacts of Brexit. 

We have worked closely with the Department of Health, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Transport, as well as the Ministry of Justice (which co-ordinates our usual relationships with UK Government).

We are also working directly with the Hampshire Local Resilience Forum and taking part in operational discussions around the resilience of the port of Portsmouth. We are confident that planning is robust.

We are working with Parish authorities and organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, charities, our religious groups and community leaders, to ensure that we are aware of the needs and concerns of the vulnerable people living in Jersey.

What do EU citizens living in Jersey need to do if there is No Deal?

If you're an EU citizen living in Jersey you need to apply for settled status, regardless of how long you have lived in the Island .

Getting this status will prove that you have permission to continue living and working here in future.

Brexit and EU citizens: applying for settled status

How will No Deal affect travel to the UK?

Jersey residents will still be able to travel to the UK. 

Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), islanders will be able to move freely between the UK, Ireland and the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man). You do not need a passport to travel to these areas, although some carriers require photo ID to travel. Check with Condor or your airline to see what is acceptable.

There may be some low level disruption to travel around the day of D1ND. You should check the status of any pre-booked travel with your carrier at the time you are travelling. 

How will No Deal affect travel to the EU?

The EU and the UK have indicated their desire to ensure that in the event of a ‘no deal’ a visa will not be needed for short-stay travel (90 days within a 180 day period.).

Your UK or Jersey passport will need to have at least six months left to run when you travel. If this is not the case, you need to apply for a new passport as soon as possible, by the express route if necessary.

If you intend to drive when you are in the EU, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP). This costs £10 and is available from your Parish hall. 

You will also need a Green Card from your insurance company, which is a physical document that proves you have third party cover. You may be denied entry to an EU country without one. Green Cards are free but you should give your insurer notice of your intention to travel so there is time to post it.

How will No Deal affect food supplies in Jersey?

Food supplies will not run out because of Brexit. However, should there be any delays in the UK supply chain as a result of Brexit, Jersey may experience a reduction in the variety of goods available, particularly fresh food. 

We have substantial contingency preparations and flexibility to react to any potential disruption. 

You should take measured, proactive steps to add a few extra items to your weekly shop. Our advice is to prepare for some potential disruption, as you would for a Bank Holiday or period of bad weather.

If you are experiencing anxiety about your ability to prepare for a disruption in food supplies, contact your parish, or any other organisation you feel able to talk to, about these worries. 

You can also contact any part of the Government of Jersey, including our Brexit Helpline on + 44 (0) 1534 440401.

How will No Deal affect the price of goods?

It has been widely reported in the UK media that any potential disruption across the UK’s ports, and the potential reduced availability of certain foods, may lead to increased prices for some food goods. 

we are proactively looking at the potential impacts of increased food prices, particularly for vulnerable groups on the Island.

If you are experiencing anxiety about your ability to cope with any rise in the price of goods, contact your Parish, or any other organisation you feel able to talk to, about these worries. 

You can also contact any part of the Government of Jersey, including our Brexit Helpline on +44 (0) 1534 440401.

Can food be imported from France if supplies from the UK are threatened from No Deal?

Most Jersey retailers are directly controlled, franchised, or cooperative members, of operations of UK based companies using long established supply routes and existing infrastructure. As such, a logistical supply chain that could handle the approximately 500,000 tonnes of freight that comes into Jersey from the UK does not exist in Northern France.

However, as a matter of caution, scoping work has been ongoing to consider southerly freight routes if the severity of disruption in the UK proved unmanageable. Discussions have been ongoing with key members of industry to assess feasibility and capacity.

How will No Deal affect essential medicines and medical supplies?

Health and Community Services (HCS) have been working closely with officials in the Department for Health (DoH) in the UK to ensure the continued arrival of medicines into the island. 

The DoH have confirmed that Jersey is included in all of their contingency plans. The island will have the resilience to withstand any potential disruption with the UK supply chain. Islanders do not need to stockpile medicines or other medical equipment.

In the unlikely event of a severe disruption of supplies, the Government has developed contingency plans for the transport of essential medicines and medical supplies. If you are concerned about your access to medicines or medical supplies, contact your health professionals or any other relevant organisation. You can also contact the Brexit Helpline on +44 (0) 1534 440401.

How will a Withdrawal Agreement affect Jersey?

How will Brexit affect Jersey if a Withdrawal Agreement is agreed?

Although the decision to leave the EU was made by voters in the UK, it will affect Jersey.

Jersey has a special relationship with the EU through the UK. We are only regarded as being a part of the European Union for trade in goods, otherwise the Island is not a part of the EU.The formal relationship is set out in Protocol 3 of the UK's 1972 Accession Treaty, and you may hear this called the ‘Protocol 3 relationship’. 

Both Jersey and Guernsey voluntarily use EU legislation or the international standards on which they are based. 

Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, it's our priority to make sure that Jersey’s interests in the European Union and with the UK are understood and protected. 

Following Brexit, Jersey-variant British passports will continue to be issued and will be aligned to the design of those issued in the United Kingdom.

Some practical things will change.

How is the Government of Jersey preparing for a Withdrawal Agreement?

We are prepared for Brexit and have been planning for it since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016. We are engaging with the UK Government through ongoing discussions between ministers and officials, and we have a positive outlook for the Island’s future post-Brexit.

Because Jersey is not part of the EU, the UK is responsible for representing our interests in their negotiations with the EU.

We have the following aims for Brexit and have made these clear to the UK Government:

  • being able to continue trading goods (including Jersey Royals, fish and shellfish) with the UK and Europe
  • keeping the same relationship and following the same rules we currently do with the EU for services (legal and financial services)
  • keeping our ‘monetary union’ with the UK, which lets us to move money freely between Jersey and the UK
  • keeping the ‘Common Travel Area’ between Jersey and the UK, which lets you travel to the UK without the need for a passport
  • keeping control over who can live and work in the Island

We have set up teams who are focusing on the areas where Brexit may affect Jersey most: 

  • agriculture and fisheries
  • immigration
  • financial services
  • trade and customs
  • transport and communications

The members of these teams are responsible for developing policy and for meeting regularly with UK officials to make sure they know what Jersey’s priorities are.

The Minister for External Relations also meets regularly with Robin Walker MP, the UK Minister from DExEU, the department responsible for Brexit.

The Channel Islands Brussels Office (CIBO) makes sure that Jersey’s interests are promoted in Europe. As well as representing Jersey to EU institutions, CIBO also advises the States of Jersey on EU policy issues. Our office in Caen (BIAN – Bureau des îles-Anglo-Normandes) is working with the French authorities to ensure that we maintain our close working relationships with Normandy and Brittany.

Channel Islands Brussels Office website

BIAN website

What do EU citizens living in Jersey need to do if there is a withdrawal agreement?

If you're an EU citizen living in Jersey you need to apply for settled status, regardless of how long you have lived in Jersey.

Getting this status will prove that you have permission to continue living and working here in future.

Brexit and EU citizens: applying for settled status

How will a withdrawal agreement affect studying the EU?

There will be no impact on Jersey students continuing their study at a UK institution or an institution outside of the EU.

However, following Brexit, Jersey students wishing to continue to study in the EU (and any fees to be charged) will need to check the immigration requirements put in place and the requirements of the institution.

Students are advised to contact their host county government or institution for advice. Jersey students who have enrolled on courses with EU universities should ask the institution whether arrangements will be in place after the UK leaves the EU.

How will a withdrawal agreement affect travel to the UK?

Jersey residents will still be able to travel to the UK. Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), islanders will be able to move freely between the UK, Ireland and the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man). You do not need a passport to travel to these areas, although some carriers require photo ID to travel; you should check with Condor or your airline to see what is acceptable.

How will a withdrawal agreement affect travel to the EU?

You won’t need a visa to travel to the EU. Under the Brexit deal, EU citizens and UK nationals (including Jersey residents) will continue to be able to travel freely with a passport until the end of the transition period in December 2020.

After this period ends, the European Commission has offered visa-free travel for UK nationals coming to the EU for a short stay, as long as the UK offers the same in return.

The EU and the UK have indicated the desire to ensure that in the event of a ‘no deal’ a visa will not be needed for short-stay travel (90 days within a 180 day period.). In the longer term, the EU is planning to launch an electronic application form, called ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), for many non-EU countries, including the UK. It would involve paying a fee of €7 (£6.30) every three years. 

Reciprocal health or social agreements after Brexit

Our reciprocal health agreements with various EU countries are not affected by EU membership, and as such will not be affected by Brexit. 

The social security reciprocal agreements are extended to us via the UK. The UK negotiated and created these agreements and Jersey (Guernsey, Isle of Man) were able to join the agreements as signatories.

The agreements have no link to EU membership so when the UK leaves the EU the agreements will remain, both for Jersey and the EU.

Our agreement with France includes supporting 80% of the cost of emergency in patient care in a French hospital for British and French nationals living in Jersey and temporarily visiting France.

What do local people think?

In May 2017, we asked the public to complete an online survey, letting us know what you think about Brexit and what your biggest concerns are.

We had 846 responses from Islanders of different ages and backgrounds.

We learned:

  • two thirds were concerned about the impact of Brexit on Jersey. Those residents born in the EU were most likely to be concerned (83%), but a majority (61%) of those born in Jersey were also concerned
  • the main concerns regarding Brexit related to higher costs to Islanders following Brexit. Other concerns related to the impact on Jersey’s economy, some of its specific industries and its workforce
  • the greatest opportunity presented by Brexit was Jersey having more control over immigration and the size of its population, followed by opportunities to develop new relationships and trade outside of the EU
  • a majority of residents considered it important for EU nationals to be able to move to Jersey to live and work, as long as they followed Jersey’s system of housing and employment licensing. Two thirds felt that this was important to Jersey’s economy, while half felt that this was of social and cultural importance to the Island

Get a copy of the report with the full results of the survey.

Residents’ Survey Research Report

Contact us

We have launched a campaign called ‘Let’s Talk Brexit’ which lets you contact us with your thoughts and questions.

You can take contact us in any of the following ways:

  • email us 
  • phone: +44 (0) 1534 440406
  • write to: Let’s Talk Brexit, C/O Ministry of External Relations, 19 -21 Broad Street, St Helier, 
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

More information

If you would like regular updates on how we are preparing for Brexit, email us to subscribe to our newsletter.

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