London, a cold night in late January 2021. George and Mildred are looking forward to taking the plane and reaching Alicante, where they have a small apartment on the beach. Since they retired they have enjoyed it several months a year, between October and March, during which time they only return to the UK for a few days at Christmas, to spend the holidays with their children Michael and Hellen. This year, because of the covid, they were left without a trip and without Christmas, so on the eve of their flight to Spain they take advantage of the relaxation of the measures imposed by Boris Johnson at the beginning of December to have dinner together as a family.
–It’s the first dinner in which we don’t talk about Brexi! Michael said jokingly.
George didn’t smile. He had voted ‘yes’ in the 2016 referendum, and was always a strong supporter of Brexit. Mildred, not so much, and her children, who have spent half their lives touring Europe, still do not understand what are the advantages of the new blue passport. His father, however, proudly showed it to him at the end of dinner:
-Here it is! Isn’t it nice?
– What is that stamped there? – Michael asked – The visa for Spain?
– Yes, the Schengen visa. Do you see how remainers are you exaggerated? They gave it to us right away! That, yes, for a maximum of 90 days, of course …
“Not only that,” Mildred wailed. At the Embassy they have told us that European visas do not allow stays of more than 90 days in a period of 180. Come on, this year we will no longer be able to return in October. Or, if we go, we would then have to spend three months in London before being able to return to Spain.
“It’s okay,” George said. After all, five months in a row was too long. We have to make the most of and enjoy our Scottish grandchildren more, right Hellen? This year I have thought of renting the house in Spain from April to October, and then we will go from January to March.
-I am delighted, dad, but do not think that things are very good in Scotland Hellen said. There is a lot of tension with the independence referendum.
“Are you still doing that?” George protested. But what are they complaining about? If in the end we had to swallow a Brexit agreement!
“They do it to annoy us”
“Yeah, dad,” the son replied, “but it’s a minimal agreement.” There are a lot of traffic jams at the border, and Scottish companies are whirling. By the way, regarding the house, you can rent it, yes, but remember that Now that you are not European, they would no longer withhold 19.5% of you in Spain as taxes on rental income, but 25%, and above without the possibility of deducting expenses.
–You economists, always so ominous! Europeans do it to annoy us! ”George exclaimed.
“No, Dad, it’s always been like that,” his daughter replied. Those who have changed have been us.
–By the way, when we request the visa we demanded travel insurance Mildred interrupted. They told us that ours could no longer cover us in Spain. That’s true?
“Yes, Mom,” explained Hellen, who worked in a bank. Financial services and insurance are now much more complicated. Not only citizens have renounced the European passport: financial and insurance companies, too. Now we can only provide services in other countries through subsidiaries, not directly from here.
“The same has that to do with the letter I got the other day from the bank … Anyway … For losing, even Poppy lost her passport,” Mildred added. Putting a dog in Europe now is going to be a real nightmare, as the vet told me. Certificates and more certificates, and if any are missing, they quarantine it. This time we will have to leave it here with you. Well, not with you, “she said, looking at her son,” because you’re already coming to Spain to work, right?
The visa riot
“I’m afraid not, Mom.” I am still processing the recognition of my title, because since Brexit it is necessary, and until I have it, I cannot sign the contract. They have told me that they are taking several months, due to the accumulation of files. And then you have to manage the work visa, which is tremendous paperwork.
“Tell me about it,” Hellen said. The bank has canceled the training courses in Frankfurt of staff because of the visa fuss. With the illusion that it made me! By the way, Dad, how come you finally fly? Didn’t you want to go by car, like other years?
“It was a mess,” George said. Car insurance is no longer valid in Europe, I imagine that by what you said before. But I’ll rent one when I get to Alicante.
–Well, don’t forget to bring your international license –Michael pointed out– Remember that the British one is no longer valid to drive through the European Union.
– What do you mean not? George yelled. “But it was worth last year!”
“Like so many things that were worth last year and are no longer worth,” Mildred murmured.
The visit is going to be very expensive, since Brexit they have greatly reduced flight frequencies and tickets have gone through the roof
“Well, well, nothing happens.” I don’t have time before the trip, but I have to return to London in a fortnight for a house issue, I’ll take advantage of it and take it off then. Although the visit is going to be very expensive, since Brexit they have greatly reduced the frequencies of flights and the tickets have gone through the roof.
-Clear, British airlines can no longer make stops in the European Union to pick up travelers. Anyway, if you come you won’t be able to go back to Spain, ”Hellen said, leafing through her father’s passport. The visa they have stamped you is not multiple entry.
“What the hell are you saying?” George growled.
–Look, it puts it here: “Single entry”. You had to have made sure before ordering it. You will have to get another Schengen visa when you return to London. Of course, they will only issue it to you for the days that remain of the maximum of 90.
“Anyway, what can you do to him?” George sighed. It is the price of freedom. What does it matter to be fifteen or twenty minutes in the queue for passports for non-EU citizens, if we no longer depend on bureaucrats in Brussels? By the way, Mildred, did you get the recipes?
“Yeah sure,” said Mildred. At least in Alicante pharmacies will have everything. Here they have told me that it will be a complicated few months, at least until things are normalized in Dover. Speaking of bureaucracy, I am told that they have had to hire hundreds of customs officers …
“Well, guys,” George concluded, “you’d better get going, Mom and I have to get up early tomorrow to go to the airport.” In addition, the curfew. Don’t worry, everything will be fine. I am sure that the people of Alicante will remain as friendly as ever.
– Yes, yes. Good trip. Don’t forget to call us when you arrive, ”Hellen said as she got up from the table.
“We’d better send you a message,” George muttered, without looking up. Now him roaming it is very expensive …