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    Brexit - what happens next?

    Page updated  January 2021 - general review & update of content now that the Brexit transition period has ended. 

    The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which was reached on 24 December 2020, forms the basis for the future relationship between the UK and the EU.  As this agreement was reached only a week before the end of the Brexit transition period (23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020), there are some detailed aspects of the new relationship between the UK and the EU which require clarification. In particular clarification is still required on recreational boat movements under the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

    What is the RYA doing on behalf of recreational boaters?

    The RYA will continue to seek better arrangements for recreational boats.

    See information on our ongoing work in this area. 

    Frequently asked questions

    Can I still rely on my ICC and other RYA certificates when boating in the EU27?

    Evidence of competence for recreational boating is generally a matter for domestic/national legislation. A vessel must comply with the legislation of its country of registration (Flag State) wherever in the world it may be. When you visit another country, in most circumstances (as detailed in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) you may be required additionally to comply with the maritime legislation of the visited country (the Coastal State). Where evidence of competence is required by the legislation of the Flag State, pleasure boaters must comply with those regulations. Whether UK certificates issued by the RYA are acceptable in other countries continues to be determined by the legislation of the country in which the boat is registered and the country in which the boat is being used.

    - Non-professional use of RYA certificates

    The International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft (ICC) is not an EU document. It is issued under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Inland Transport Committee Working Party on Inland Water Transport Resolution 40. It is this resolution which details how and to whom the ICC may be issued, the syllabus requirements and the layout of the certificate. It also lists the countries which have notified the UNECE Secretariat that they have accepted the resolution. The UK Government has accepted Resolution 40 and has authorised the RYA to issue the ICC on its behalf.

    In countries which have not adopted Resolution 40, the acceptability of an ICC is determined by that country’s national legislation. 

    Non-professional RYA certificates were recognised in Spain on Spanish flagged recreational craft when the UK was an EU Member State. Now the UK is a third country, this is no longer the case.  There may also be a similar issue in Portugal which we are looking into.

    - Professional use of RYA certificates

    RYA professional qualifications (e.g. commercially endorsed certificates of competence) are accepted by the UK Government for use on UK-flagged commercial yachts but such qualifications are not, and never have been, STCW-compliant certificates. As such, RYA professional qualifications are not subject to the mutual-recognition mechanism envisaged in the STCW convention and they no longer fall within the scope of the EU Directive on the mutual recognition of seafarers’ certificates issued by member states. 

    RYA professional qualifications are accepted by several non-UK national administrations for use on vessels flying their flags but this is a matter for each of those administrations individually and there is no obligation on them to do so. The UK leaving the EU has not necessarily changed such positions, and it has not altered the acceptability of RYA professional qualifications to the UK Government for use on UK-flagged commercial yachts.

    However, if holders of commercially endorsed Yachtmaster Offshore or Ocean Certificates of Competence experience difficulties with overseas administrations, they may wish to explore the route from RYA Yachtmaster to MCA Master, II/2, code vessels less than 200 GT/Officer of the Watch yachts, less than 500 GT. Further details of what is required and the route to achieving this can be found in MSN 1858.

    As is the case for non-professional certificates, it is understood that professional RYA certificates that were previously accepted in Spain when the UK was an EU Member State are no longer acceptable to operate Spanish flagged vessels.  There may also be a similar issue in Portugal which we are looking into.

    We are continuing to work with the Department for Transport, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, to ensure that RYA qualifications are as widely recognised as possible.

    Does it matter where my boat was lying at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020?

    Yes. The location of your boat at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020 determined its future VAT and customs status. Further guidance, by location, is provided below. 

    Note: this information must be read together with the sections on taking your boat to the EU27 from 1 January 2021 and arriving in the UK from abroad from 1 January 2021, to fully understand the boat’s future status

    If you haven’t already done so, it is recommended that you obtain and retain documentation which can be used to demonstrates the vessel’s location at the time the transition period ended (23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020).

    - Boat lying in Great Britain at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    Great Britain is no longer part of the Customs Territory of the EU. (Please see the note further down the page regarding Northern Ireland).

    Recreational boats lying in GB when the transition period ended ceased to be in free circulation in the Customs Territory of the EU. They no longer have Union status and as long as they remain in the UK will be treated by the UK as ‘domestic goods’.  

    In order to evidence 'domestic goods’ status in the future the owner will need to continue to retain evidence of the boat’s VAT paid status and must also obtain and keep evidence to demonstrate the boat’s location at the end of the transition period. 

    Information on what documents might be useful can be found in Notice 8

    - Boat lying in Northern Ireland at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    The UK’s only land border with the EU is the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The UK and the EU agreed that a specific solution was needed to reconcile the different interests at play and as a result the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland formed part of the Withdrawal Agreement.

    HMRC has not yet provided advice on Northern Ireland. Notice 8: sailing your pleasure craft to and from the UK, indicates in the introduction that its scope does not include movements between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and between Northern Ireland and the EU which continue to be treated as intra-community movements. The notice indicates that it is not necessary to fly the Q flag when arriving in Northern Ireland from the EU. 

    It is therefore not possible at the moment for the RYA to provide definitive advice on the status of boats which were lying in Northern Ireland when the transition period ended.

    - Boat lying in the remaining 27 EU Member States (EU27) at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    A boat which was in free circulation in the EU27 (i.e. it had Union status and was lying in the EU27) at the time the transition period ended will remain in free circulation for as long as it remains in the EU27, as long as it can be proven that the boat was lying in the EU27 when the transition period ended. 

    If you have not already done so, it is essential that you obtain and retain documentation which demonstrates the vessel’s location at the time the transition period ended. We asked the European Commission about the evidence an owner might need to retain to demonstrate the location of the vessel at the end of the transition period. We were advised that there is no specific document or form and that the boater should provide evidence (if requested) in a form that customs would consider appropriate in their particular situation.

    This is also applicable to boats lying in the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (Cyprus) which are still part of the customs territory of the EU. 

    Please see the sections on taking your boat to the EU27 from 1 January 2021, arriving in the UK from abroad from 1 January 2021 and future validity in the EU27 of documents issued by HMRC for further information.

    - Boat lying in a territory of an EU27 country which is part of the customs territory of the EU but excluded for VAT purposes at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    If, at the end of the transition period, a boat was lying in a territory of an EU country which is part of the Customs Territory of the EU but which is not part of the EU for VAT purposes (e.g. Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Réunion, Åland Islands, Mayotte, Saint-Martin – French part), it retains its customs status of Union goods (Union status), if it was held in that territory.

    Please see the sections on taking your boat to the EU27 from 1 January 2021 and  arriving in the UK from abroad from 1 January 2021 for further information regarding VAT.

    - Boat lying in a Crown Dependency at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    The Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, that is, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey (including Guernsey and its dependencies)) were part of the customs territory of the EU, but that ceased to be the case when the transition period ended. As a result, a boat which was lying in a Crown Dependency at the end of the transition period lost its Union status. 

    The Crown Dependencies are not part of the UK Customs Territory, therefore a boat which was lying in a Crown Dependency at the end of the transition period did not become UK ‘domestic goods’. 

    Please see the sections on taking your boat to the EU27 from 1 January 2021 and arriving in the UK from abroad from 1 January 2021 for further information.

    - Boat lying outside the UK and the EU27 at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    In order to return to the UK or the EU27 without paying VAT and duty on import, the owners of boats which had been exported from the EU before the transition period ended need to meet the conditions for relief from import VAT and  duty for the customs territory they are re-entering.

    You will not resume Union status if you enter the UK. Similarly, you will not gain [UK] 'domestic goods’ status if you enter the EU27.

    This includes boats which were lying in the British Overseas Territory (Anguilla; Bermuda; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands; St Helena and St Helena Dependencies (Ascension and Tristan da Cunha); South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands; and The Turks & Caicos Islands) which were not and are not part of the EU customs territory. 

    Please see the sections on taking your boat to the EU27 from 1 January 2021 and arriving in the UK from abroad from 1 January 2021 for further information.

    Arriving in the UK from abroad from 1 January 2021.

    When you arrive in the UK from abroad with your boat, the default position is that import VAT and duty (see note) are payable on the current value of the boat. This will be the case unless you are entitled to relief.

    Note: in the UK the third country rate of duty for the commodity codes relevant to yachts and other vessels for pleasure or sports; rowing boats and canoes is currently 0%. 

    The Returned Goods Relief (RGR) concept has been replicated in UK law. 

    HMRC has advised that the general conditions for RGR for relief from both import VAT and duty are that the goods - the boat:

    • is imported into the UK within 3 years of its export; and
    • is imported by the person who exported it; and
    • has undergone no more than running repairs outside the UK that did not increase its value; and
    • must be UK ‘domestic goods’ at the time of export.

    - Not resident in the UK 

    If you are not resident in the UK and your boat is registered outside the UK it is likely that you will be eligible to visit the UK, for recreation and pleasure purposes under temporary admission. Information on UK Temporary Admission can be found in Notice 8.

    - UK resident with a boat which has never been in the UK 

    To enter the UK without paying import VAT and duty you will need to be eligible for relief. For most people this will be as returned goods, known as returned goods relief (RGR).

    However, irrespective of the boat’s location at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020, if a UK resident brings a boat to the UK, which has not been in the UK during their ownership, it will not be eligible for RGR. Import VAT and duty will be payable on arrival in the UK (unless the owner is eligible for another relief, which is unlikely). The boat must be declared on arrival as detailed in Notice 8.

    - UK resident with boat which was lying in the EU27 at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    To enter the UK without paying VAT and import duty you need to be eligible for relief. For most people this will be as returned goods.

    Conditions for returned goods relief (RGR) until the end of 2021

    If the current owner has been in the UK with their boat in the past, then until 1 January 2022, it does not matter how long ago, as long as it can be proven that the boat has previously been in the UK and the other conditions to be eligible for RGR can be met. This is because there is an automatic waiver of the three-year condition for goods which were in the EU at the end of the transition period (after 31 December 2020) that are returned to the UK within one year of that date. 

    The boat must also:

    • be imported by the person who exported it (see note 1); and
    • have undergone no more than running repairs outside the UK that did not increase its value; and 
    • have been UK ‘domestic goods’ (see note 2) at the time of export.

    Note 1: HMRC previously advised that it would be sufficient to show that any sale or transfer or ownership was made in compliance with VAT legislation, however it has withdrawn that advice as the legislation does not support an easement against the condition that importer and exporter must be the same person.

    Note 2: The RYA’s understanding is VAT does not have to have been paid in the UK providing the boat has been in the UK in its current ownership. 

    Conditions for returned goods relief (RGR) from 1 January 2022

    From 1 January 2022 the standard conditions for relief from both import VAT and duty as returned goods will apply. The boat must: 

    • be imported into the UK within 3 years of its export; and
    • be imported by the person who exported it; and
    • have undergone no more than running repairs outside the UK that did not increase its value; and 
    • have been UK ‘domestic goods’ at the time of export.

    The requirement that the goods must be returned to the UK no more than 3 years after the date of export may be waived to account for exceptional circumstances where HMRC considers it would be reasonable to do so. 

    In particular, this includes:

    • specialised goods returning to the UK from long-term hire or loan agreements outside the UK
    • building equipment or machinery returning to the UK after use in capital projects outside the UK
    • exhibition goods returning after long-term display or storage outside the UK
    • collectors’ or heritage items originally manufactured in the UK and returning from overseas after re-acquisition by a UK dealer or investor, e.g. collectable items of furniture or ceramics
    • professional and personal effects returning with returning UK expatriates

    If you consider that exceptional circumstances apply and the three-year condition should be waived, then you can make an application for approval (supporting evidence may be required). 

    There is an automatic waiver of the three-year condition for goods owned by Crown Servants returning to the UK after their postings overseas (the time limit for Crown Servants is currently 6 years) – Crown Servants include diplomatic staff, armed forces, embassy and consular personnel. 

    HMRC stated, in a meeting with the RYA and British Marine, that the return within three-years condition will be strictly enforced. You may therefore wish to seek guidance from HMRC, on whether it considers your circumstances to be exceptional if you intend to remain outside the UK for longer than 3 years. 

    - UK resident with boat which was lying in one of the Crown Dependencies at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    The Crown Dependencies are not part of the UK Customs Territory, however the UK has signed customs arrangements with the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man which ensure that customs duty is not liable on trade between the Crown Dependencies and the UK now EU treaties no longer apply.   

    Import VAT is not payable on boats imported into the UK from the Isle of Man as the Isle of Man is part of the UK’s VAT territory.

    The Channel Islands do not align with the UK on VAT and therefore import VAT is due on arrival from the Channel Islands, unless the owner is eligible for relief.

    - UK resident with boat which was lying in Gibraltar or the British Overseas Territories at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    Both import VAT and duty will payable on arrival in the UK from Gibraltar and the Overseas Territories unless the owner is eligible for relief.

    - UK resident with boat which was lying in UK at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    The owner of a boat, which was lying in the UK at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020, which is taken out of the UK (exported) will need to be able to demonstrate eligibility for relief on return if the boat is to re-enter the UK without the owner incurring import VAT and duty. 

    HMRC has confirmed that where VAT was paid in the EU27 rather than the UK, if a boat which has domestic [UK] status as a result of being in free circulation in the UK at the end of the transition period, leaves the UK (i.e. is exported from the UK) on its return the owner will be eligible for RGR on the basis that EU VAT had been paid.

    We do not yet have sufficient information from HMRC to be able to provide definitive advice on the future status of boats lying in Northern Ireland.

    - UK resident with boat which was outside the UK and the EU27 at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    If you arrive in the UK within three years of the time a boat left the EU (i.e. within three years of the boat being exported from the EU), returned goods relied (RGR) can apply providing that EU VAT has been paid.

    Assuming you meet the conditions for UK RGR (see above) your boat will be treated as ‘domestic goods’ by the UK. You will not resume Union status if you enter the UK.

    Taking your boat to the EU27 from 1 January 2021

    - National interpretation and implementation

    The European Commission has provided guidance on the legislation. The practical interpretation and implementation of that legislation is the responsibility of the authorities of the country in which you are entering the EU27 and member states have a certain level of discretion in this regard. The resulting local variations can cause confusion. 

    National Tax Websites - https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/national-tax-websites_en

    National Customs Websites - https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/national-customs-websites_en 

    - Boat lying in UK at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    According to information received from the European Commission on 30 October 2020, and contrary to previous advice, the flag state of a boat which was lying in the UK may have some bearing on its eligibility to re-enter the EU27 as returned goods. 

    The European Commission has confirmed that, although a boat which was lying in the UK at the end of the transition period lost its Union status as soon as the transition period ended, if the previous Union status can be proven upon arrival in the Union, the Union status can be regained. How this is achieved is different for non-EU registered boats and EU registered boats. 

    • Non-EU registered (flagged) boats

    If the boat is not registered in the EU, upon re-entering the EU customs territory it will be treated as any other third-country goods and to acquire Union status it needs to be placed under release for free circulation in the EU. 

    If you are established (habitually resident) in the UK you should be eligible to take your boat, which must be registered outside the EU27, to the EU27 for up to 18 months under temporary admission procedures (conditions apply). For further information see EU returned goods relief and temporary admission.

    • EU registered boats

    If the yacht is registered in the EU and on the condition that the requirements of Article 203 of the Union Customs Code (UCC) are met, the boat may be released for free circulation as returned goods according to Article 203 UCC on the condition that the declarant is established in the customs territory of the Union. The customs declaration may be lodged orally.

    Where the declarant is not established in the EU, the possibility of an exception will need to be checked with customs. 

    Caution: 

    Please think carefully before changing the registration of your boat to an EU member state: 

    • If customs turn down the possibility of an exception to the declarant being established in the EU, a boat which is registered in the EU will not be eligible for Temporary Admission. You may therefore end up in a worse position than if your boat remains UK flagged.
    • If you register your boat in another country you then have to comply with that country’s legislation. That could entail having that country’s evidence of competence (which might involve a test in the country’s language), compulsory carriage of equipment, etc. 

    - Boat lying in the EU27 at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    A boat which is in free circulation (i.e. it has Union status and was lying in the EU27 at the time the transition period ended) remains in free circulation for as long as it remains in the EU27, as long as it can be proven that the boat was lying in the EU27 at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020.

    If the boat later leaves the EU27, it is our understanding that as long as it had Union status when it left the EU and provided you can evidence that you meet the conditions for returned goods relief (RGR) you should be able to re-enter the customs territory of the EU without VAT and import duty becoming payable. 

    When the boat leaves the EU, the sole act of crossing the frontier of the customs territory of the Union is deemed to be a customs declaration for export.

    The boat should regain Union status if it is later re-imported into the EU and qualifies as returned goods. It must be declared to customs, however for returned goods, this can be done by the sole act of the boat crossing the border. To qualify as returned goods and avoid paying customs duties, the boat must fulfil the conditions established in Article 203 of the Union Customs Code (UCC). For the VAT exemption to apply the boat must be exempt from customs duties in accordance with Article 203 UCC and it must be re-imported by the same person who exported it (Article 143(1)(e) VAT Directive).

    The European Commission has provided guidance on the legislation. The practical interpretation and implementation of that legislation is the responsibility of the authorities of the country in which you are entering the EU27. You must therefore be prepared to evidence the status of your boat if asked. You may be considered to have made a false customs declaration if you cross the frontier of the customs territory of the Union and cannot provide the necessary evidence, if asked.

    Please see the section on the future validity in the EU27 of documents issued by HMRC for further information.

    - Boat lying in a territory of an EU27 country which is part of the customs territory of the EU but excluded for VAT purposes at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    If, at the end of the transition period, a boat was lying in a territory of an EU country which is part of the Customs Territory of the EU but excluded for VAT purposes (e.g. Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Réunion, Åland Islands, Mayotte, Saint-Martin – French part), its Union status was kept (if it was held in those territories).

    When the boat returns to the EU27 from such territories it is considered to be an import. VAT and other taxes must be paid, and the customs status of Union goods of those boats needs to be proven. However, if the boat is exempted from import duty (e.g as returned goods), then the conditions of Article 143(e) of the VAT Directive are fulfilled and VAT will not become payable. 

    - Boat lying in a Crown Dependency at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    Prior to the end of the transition period the Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, that is, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey (including Guernsey and its dependencies)) were considered part of the customs territory of the EU. When the transition period ended that ceased to be the case. As a result, a boat which was lying in a Crown Dependency when the transition period ended lost its Union status.  

    Upon re-entering the customs territory of the EU, the boat will be treated as any other third-country goods and to acquire Union status it will need to be placed under release for free circulation in the EU. 

    If you are established (habitually resident) outside the EU27 and the boat is registered outside the EU27, you should be able to take the boat to the EU27 for up to 18 months under temporary admission (conditions apply). For further information see EU returned goods relief and temporary admission.

    - Boat lying outside the UK and the EU27 at 23:00 UTC on 31 December 2020

    This includes boats which were lying in the British Overseas Territory (Anguilla; Bermuda; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands; St Helena and St Helena Dependencies (Ascension and Tristan da Cunha); South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands; and The Turks & Caicos Islands) which were not and are not part of the customs territory of the EU. 

    If your boat had Union status when it left the EU it is our understanding that as long as your boat is not in the UK at the end of the transition period and you can evidence that you meet the conditions for returned goods relief (RGR) you should be able to re-enter the customs territory of the EU without VAT and import duty becoming payable. 

    When the boat leaves the EU, the sole act of crossing the frontier of the customs territory of the Union is deemed to be a customs declaration for export. 

    The boat should regain Union status if it is released for free circulation in the EU. It must be declared to customs, however for returned goods, this can be done by the sole act of the boat crossing the border. To qualify as returned goods and avoid paying customs duties, the boat must fulfil the conditions established in Article 203 of the Union Customs Code (UCC). For the VAT exemption to apply the boat must be exempt from customs duties in accordance with Article 203 UCC and it must be re-imported by the same person who exported it (Article 143(1)(e) VAT Directive).

    The European Commission has provided guidance on the legislation. The practical interpretation and implementation of that legislation is the responsibility of the authorities of the country in which you are entering the EU27. You must therefore be prepared to evidence the status of your boat if asked. You may be considered to have made a false customs declaration if you cross the frontier of the customs territory of the Union and cannot provide the necessary evidence, if asked. 

    Please see the section on the future validity in the EU27 of documents issued by HMRC for further information. 

    Future validity in the EU27 of documents issued by HMRC 

    - Can paperwork (such as a VAT invoice, T2L, customs opinion letter or other supporting documentation) issued in or by the UK still be used to demonstrate the Union status of pleasure craft? 

    According to the European Commission: 

    • Whilst in the EU27

    The documentation (such as a T2L, customs opinion letter or other supporting documentation) issued by the UK before the end of the transition period is not be valid in the EU after the end of the transition period. Therefore, for a boat lying in the EU at the end of the transition period, the person concerned needs to submit a new request to obtain a proof of Union status to one of the Customs authorities in the EU. Regarding the VAT invoice, if there is a proof that the VAT has been paid in the EU before the end of the transition period, then this proof may be used in order to demonstrate the Union status of the craft. In case this payment can be verified on the invoice, then the invoice itself may be used in order to demonstrate the Union status of the craft. 

    • When crossing the frontier of the customs territory of the Union (the EU27) as returned goods 

    For a craft crossing the frontier of the EU customs territory, a T2L, a customs opinion letter or other supporting documentation issued by the UK before the end of the transition period is not valid in the EU after the end of that period and cannot be used to demonstrate that the craft had the Union status before it was taken out of the EU. Regarding the VAT invoice, if there is a proof that the VAT was paid in the EU before the end of the transition period, then this proof may be used in order to demonstrate the Union status of the craft. In case this payment can be verified on the invoice, then the invoice itself may be used in order to demonstrate the Union status of the craft. In case the VAT payment in the EU is verified, the craft can be dealt with as a returned good upon its re-entering into the EU. Customs formalities for re-importation shall be carried out.

    - Can somebody who is not established in the EU27 own a vessel with Union status and keep it in the EU27?

    According to the European Commission somebody who is not established in the EU27 can own a vessel with Union status and keep it in the EU27. As long as the vessel remains in the customs territory of the Union, the presumption of Union status applies. For customs purposes, the ownership of a vessel is not relevant.

    - Can I pay VAT and import duty on arrival in the EU27 to import my boat and have it released for free circulation? 

    The European Commission has advised that any person wishing to place goods under a given customs procedure, e.g. release for free circulation, shall indicate it in the prescribed form and manner by lodging a customs declaration. As a general rule, when it comes to declaring goods for release for free circulation, the declarant has to be established in the customs territory of the Union. Therefore, in case a person established outside the EU wishes to lodge a customs declaration in order to release a recreational craft for free circulation into the EU, then this person shall use an indirect representative established in the EU, who will play the role of the declarant. However, Article 170(3)(b) UCC provides for a derogation from this general rule provided that the customs authority consider this to be justified. You will therefore need to check this with the applicable authority in advance.

    - Do I need to change my country of registration in order to keep my boat in an EU 27 country after the end of the transition period?

    Registration of a privately owned recreational boat is generally a matter for domestic/national legislation. Free movement, in the EU27, for the vessel is linked to the vessel having Union status (i.e. it has been released for free circulation). A boat's status should not have changed just because UK’s relationship with the EU has changed. As long as the boat was lying in the EU27 and was in free circulation when the transition period ended you should still be able to keep your UK registered  you keep your UK registered boat in an EU member state's territorial or internal waters.

    If you are resident in the UK, at the moment, the RYA does not believe there will be any advantage to registering your boat in another EU country. If you decide to register your boat in another country you will then have to comply with that country’s legislation. That could entail having that country’s evidence of competence (which might involve a test in the country’s language), compulsory carriage of equipment, etc.

    Immigration and visas for travel to the EU27.

    - I’m a UK Citizen and am not resident in an EU27 country, can I still spend the whole summer on my boat in the EU27?

    The UK Government has published information regarding travelling to the EU from 1 January 2021 at https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021. Additionally, country by country information is available at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

    You can to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180 day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism. This is a rolling 180 day period.  

    If you enter the dates you are thinking about being in the Schengen Area in the calculator of travel days remaining provided by the European Commission, you will be able to see whether your plans are possible within the 90 days in any 180 day period restriction.  

    Different rules apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.   

    Further information

    If you are an RYA member and you wish to contact the RYA regarding Brexit please email brexit@rya.org.uk. However, if you are buying a boat we recommend you email legal@rya.org.uk

    Government information titled Brexit: new rules are here can be found at www.gov.uk/transition

    Government information on travelling to Europe from 1 January 2021, including information about travelling with pets and mobile roaming can be found at www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021.

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