June 24-27, 2021
Our process to enter UK with our sailboat included both Brexit and Covid-19 – procedures. We sailed to UK the summer 2021 and this was first summer after UK officially left EU. We took information from Noonsite about how the process would be. Since things might change over time, it is hard to write something here that will be valid in the future. Our best tip is to look at a site like Noonsite or contact authorities. But we will still summarize how our entry process looked like.
We sailed during the pandemic and if we stayed 10 days or more on international waters we didn’t need to take a test or do quarantine. We made sure that our crossing from Azores to UK took more than 10 days. Before we left the Azores we had sent an e-mail to authorities in Wales to confirm this and showed this e-mail to Border Force when we arrived.
Regarding Brexit, before leaving Azores we didn’t contact any authorities. The first contact with authorities we did when we had cellphone reception again after the Azores/UK crossing. So just outside Milford Haven. We also hoisted the Q flag (Yellow Flag) when we entered UK waters. You also have to sail to a Port of Entry as your first stop, we sailed to Milford Haven which is a Port of Entry in Wales. All Port of Entries are listed on Noonsite.
We called the National Yachtline. They wanted us to fill out the C1331 form (see the Noonsite link above, and if it is not listed there, there probably is a digital version instead). We also read on Noonsite that the National Yachtline should arrange a meeting with the Border Force for us. But the guy we talked to said we didn’t need to have Border Force visiting us, but everywhere we had read about it said we needed to have them visit us and check the boat and our papers.
We tried calling National Yachtline again, and they said same thing again. Fill out the form and you don’t need to be visited. We were a bit confused so we called the Border Force office and they confirmed what we have read, in order for us to enter the country officially they had to visit our boat. But they had to get the order from the National Yachtline.
So, once more we called the National Yachtline and said we had talked to Border Force and wanted them to arrange for Border Force to visit our boat in the marina. The guy said no (we talked to the same guy every time, probably new at the job or something), he still said we didn’t need to have Border Force visiting us.
We called up Border Force again and said that National Yachtline didn’t want to arrange for Border Force to visit our boat. In the end Border Force called up the National Yachtline to tell them to arrange for Border Force to visit us. National Yachtline called us (another person this time), asked all questions again and finally arranged for Border Force to visit us. Don’t you just love bureaucracy?
The Border Force arrived to our boat, checked the inside and looked at our papers and with that (and the C1331 form we later posted) we finally could take down the Q-flag and had officially entered UK.
Hopefully with time the process of entering and leaving UK will be easier. Brexit was quite new when we entered and new for all the people working with people entering/leaving.
In Milford Haven we met up with Sanuti, who arrived to Milford Haven a couple of days before us. We walked around in Milford Haven, visited a museum about town. We took the train to a nearby city Haverfordwest, enjoyed an afternoon tea and watched the European Championship game between Wales and Denmark at a local bar we found.