After protracted negotiations on the EU's future partnership with the UK, the Eurozone states, including the Czech Republic, signed an agreement on cooperation and trade. This Brexit agreement came into effect on 1 January 2021 with numerous questions left unanswered for individuals and businesses.
From 1 January 2021, EU citizens who have been legally resident in the UK and UK citizens who have been legally in an EU state – such as the Czech Republic – for more than five years can apply for permanent residence.
The Czech Ministry of the Interior adds that Czech-resident UK citizens can prove legal residence with a temporary or permanent residence document issued before 1 February 2020 or a residence certificate issued after that day. British citizens must apply for a Schengen visa for short stays, i.e. of up to 90 days, in the Czech Republic.
Due to tax changes effective from the new year, some online retailers in the Czech Republic have stopped shipping to the UK. Companies are struggling to handle greater costs, paperwork, and bureaucracy.
Logistics companies such as FedEx and TNT, citing the high costs of making their systems compliant after Brexit, have announced possible increases in the cost of shipping goods between the UK and the EU. Retailers shipping goods worth less than € 150 are now required to register for UK VAT as well as UK customs duty.
New rules on post-Brexit trade between the countries were published on 26 December, a couple of days before the agreement came into force. This last-minute approach has created difficulties for companies with no previous experience working with customs declarations. The risk is that if goods are not cleared to enter the country due to improper documentation, consignments will be stuck in warehouses and distribution centers. Additionally, the ongoing struggle with Covid-19 and its mutations has resulted in border closures and heightened requirements for drivers crossing the UK border.
"The UK is the fifth most important market for Czech exporters. It is difficult to predict what will happen in the coming months and years, so it is too early to evaluate the agreement. This is a challenging time for Czech companies, as everyone will have to adapt to the new reality,” says Tatyana Serikova, AsstrA Prague Branch Manager. “The UK is already outside the European Union, and now we have a new environment in which to build trade relations with English partners. The AsstrA team will be striving to closely monitor the market, keep clients constantly updated. and suggest effective alternatives if an existing solution no longer work.”