The numerous social, cultural, economic and constitutional links between Jersey and the United Kingdom, built up over centuries, make the UK our closest international partner.
Jersey’s relationship with the English Crown began with the Norman invasion of England in 1066, after which William the Conqueror sat as both William I of England and Duke of Normandy, the latter of which Jersey was a part.
In 1204, when King John lost continental Normandy to the French King Phillipe-Auguste, the people of Jersey made the decision to remain loyal to the English Crown. In return for the Island’s demonstration of loyalty, King John granted Jersey numerous rights and privileges, subsequently confirmed in numerous Royal Charters, which are reflected in the level of autonomy we continue to enjoy to this day.
Jersey is not part of the United Kingdom and is not represented in the British Houses of Parliament. The UK Parliament does not legislate for the Island without consent. The UK Government, on behalf of the Crown, does retain formal responsibility for the Island’s defence and, to some extent, its foreign affairs, though it is settled constitutional practice that the UK consults Jersey before it may bind the Island to obligations in international law.
In recent years, the Government of Jersey has held increasing responsibility for its own external relations. A framework agreement signed in 2007 recognised that Jersey has an international identity which is different from that of the UK. Accordingly, the Island has now signed a number of international agreements directly with foreign countries. In line with its growing international identity, Jersey adopted a new role of Minister for External Relations in September 2013 and now operates three overseas representative offices in London, France, and Brussels, the latter two of which are operated jointly with the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
The cultural links between Jersey and the UK have developed significantly since the end of the Second World War. Nearly a third of the resident population were born in other parts of the British Isles meaning there are strong family links to the rest of the UK.
Whilst Jersey has traditionally had its own language – Jèrriais, (a form of Norman French), with the established French language also previously being widely spoken on the Island, English is now the overwhelmingly dominant language on the Island.
Jersey’s close affinity with Britain is further demonstrated by the fact that the majority of international phone and digital traffic from the island goes to the UK.
Jersey necessarily imports an array of goods to meet the needs of the population. The vast majority of these imports come to the Island from the United Kingdom. Reciprocally, the UK is also a major export market for many of the goods and services provided by businesses and industries in Jersey.
As a leading international finance centre, Jersey has strong links with the UK business community and, in particular, the City of London. An independent report by Capital Economics, Jersey’s value to Britain was published in July 2013. The report demonstrated that Jersey and the UK have a strong, important and mutually beneficial relationship.
The report shows that Jersey provides significant benefits to the UK in supporting approximately 180,000 British jobs and adding £9 billion to the UK economy. Furthermore, £118 billion of funding is upstreamed from Jersey banks to banks in the UK, representing 1.5% of the funding of the whole UK banking system. The Island is also a platform for almost £500 billion of foreign investment into the UK, much of which might exit the sterling zone were Jersey not to offer the services that it does.
The British pound and Jersey pound (valued 1:1) are Jersey’s major retail currencies.
Jersey is not in a formal currency union with the UK and therefore monetary policy is set by the Bank of England. The Jersey pound is a transactional currency, tied to the pound and wholly backed by sterling reserves.
Jersey is part of the Common Travel Area (CTA) which allows free movement of people to and from the UK and Ireland. You are not required to go through formal passport checks when travelling within the CTA, although airlines will require you to present some form of photographic identification. Providing you are lawfully in the UK and will be travelling according to your immigration permissions, you will not need a separate visa to travel to Jersey.
People travelling to Jersey from any other European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) country also do not require a visa to visit the Island, however they must show a valid passport or identity card at immigration control on arrival in Jersey. Immigration controls for entry into Jersey via non CTA channels follow exactly the same procedure and level of enforcement as any UK entry point.