In a surprising turn of events, the UK has voted to leave the EU and whilst much of the future is unknown as of yet, there are a few paths that the UK will undoubtedly have to take in the not-so-distant future.

The heated debate may continue whilst disappointment and happiness  continues to divide people, but soon we’ll have to put our differences aside and evaluate the UK’s next steps. For the next two years at least, the UK and the EU will enter negotiations, forming treaties and drafting legislation. Until then, what happens to the UK? Here are a few answers.

How long would it take to leave the EU?
Most likely it will take a minimum of two years for the UK to actually leave the EU. Until then, Britain is expected to abide to EU treaties and laws, but will not be able to participate in any of its decision making.

What will happen during that time?
Britain will need this time to readjust bureaucratically. This involves electing a new PM by October and developing regulations of its own to implement once Britain leaves officially. An agreement will also have to be ratified by both the European council and the parliament in Strasbourg.

Who will be involved in this readjustment?
Leader of the civil service, cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, David Cameron and the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, will be heavily involved in reshaping the current landscape.

What are David Cameron’s options and what is Article 50?
The PM cannot leave until he can advise the Queen of his successor. Cameron had perviously said that he would trigger article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which is effectively Britain’s official resignation from the EU. Alternatively, the party could delay and Cameron could leave this responsibility to his successor. Once signed, the two year renegotiation with the EU clock will start kicking. Negotiations must end with the UK leaving the EU unles unless the EU member states unanimously agree to extend negotiations.

Who are potential PM successors?
The bookies have leading Conservative Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and Ruislip, as the 4/5 favourite to succeed Cameron. Home Secretary Theresa May was given 3/1 odds and Justice Secretary Michael Gove, 7/1. Other candidates have even less favourable odds: Andrea Leadson 12/1, Priti Patel 16/1, Sajid Javid and Philip Hammond both 20/1 and Stephen Crabb and Liam Fox 25/1.

How could Brexit impact the rest of the EU?
Britain leaving the EU might encourage other nations to follow suit, but the EU might play hardball and try to make an example out of Britain for leaving. Scotland, who voted to remain in the EU will most likely hold their own referendum to be independent from the UK. Other nations may also hold their own EU referendums.

Will my Ehic card still work?
The European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) that entitles travellers to state-provided emergency medical treatment within the EU is valid in any EU country as well as Switzerland and the European Economic Area countries such as Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. The card will continue to be valid for as long as the UK is still a member of the EU, IE until Article 50 negations are completed. A new deal will have to be negotiated after this. The UK already has reciprocal deals with countries such as Australia and New Zealand which entitles free urgent treatment for its citizens. A similar deal may need be negotiated for when the UK leaves.

Will I need a visa to travel to the EU?
As long as the UK remains a member of the EU, you will be able to travel freely in the EU. Free movement around the EU may be on the playing cards for the UK once it leaves – it seems unlikely that EU countries will want to deter tourists, but it is simply too early to say. British citizens can visit a number of countries outside of the EU for up to 90 days without a visa, so a similar arrangement may also be considered.

What happens to my EU driving license?
Licenses remain valid, just as passports are, for the duration of the UK-EU negotiations. Post-negotiations will most likely result in a new design that will be phased in. Again, it is far too early to tell.

What will it mean for people living in other parts of the EU?
It is generally accepted that those already living in the UK as EU nationals will not see a change to their status. Mass deportations of 3 million EU nationals who currently reside in the EU seems unlikely. The reverse is true too, for the 1.2 million UK nationals living elsewhere in the EU. Details will emerge as negotiations are under way.

What about bringing cigarettes and booze back from Europe?
Customs limits are likely to be reintroduced, unless negotiations dictate otherwise. The limit is currently set at four litres of wine from countries outside of the EU. Perhaps stock up on your next trip to Europe!

Understandably, there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding what will happen with the UK. However, until Article 50 is implemented and the two years of negotiations are complete, the UK can make the most out of their EU membership and citizens need not panic too much with regards to immediate status changes. Over the next two years, expect details of negotiations to emerge that will then provide more concrete and permanent answers to the questions above.

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