What’s the Brexit deal? Key factors defined

European Union and British Flag

What are the new rules? (Picture: Getty)

The Brexit transitional period ended at 11pm on December 31, 2020, meaning the UK is officially out of the European Union.

After years of negotiating, a deal was finally agreed upon on Christmas Eve.

But what are the new rules around travel, trade, and education?

Here, we explain the key points of the Brexit deal.

What is the Brexit deal?

There are many complex aspects to the Brexit deal, some of which are still being negotiated.

The below rules came into forced on January 1, 2021.

A woman wearing a face mask at an airport

People are keen to know how Brexit impacts their travel plans (Picture: Getty)



dover ferry port

There will be tighter checks at customs for imports and exports (Picture: Getty)


  • The UK will no longer participate in the Erasmus exchange programme, however, students that have already started courses in the EU will continue to receive support for fees
  • Students at universities in Northern Ireland will continue to participate in Erasmus
  • A new Erasmus-style scheme named after Alan Turing will begin in September 2021


  • The UK will gradually gain a greater share of the fish from its waters over the next five years
  • The UK and the EU will then hold regular talks on fishing access from 2026 onwards

Services and qualifications

  • UK businesses will need to comply with the regulations in each individual country, rather than one set of rules for the entire EU
  • It will be harder for people with qualifications gained in the UK to sell their services in the EU, as there will no longer be automatic recognition of professional qualifications for people such as doctors, chefs and architects

European Court of Justices

  • There will be no role in the UK for the European Court of Justice (ECJ)
  • Disputes that cannot be resolved between the UK and the EU will be referred to an independent tribunal

Security and Data

  • Most rules about storing data still need to be decided
  • The UK will no longer have automatic access to key security databases, and will have to request access instead
  • The UK will not be a member of Europol, but it will have a presence at its headquarters
  • The UK is no longer obliged to comply with EU standards of data protection

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