British Prime Minister Theresa May signs the official letter to European Council President Donald Tusk invoking Article 50 and the United Kingdom's intention to leave the EU on March 28, 2017 in London.

Christopher Furlong | Pool | Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May signs the official letter to European Council President Donald Tusk invoking Article 50 and the United Kingdom’s intention to leave the EU on March 28, 2017 in London.

The formal two-year process governing Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU) begins when Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which became law in 2009, is triggered on Wednesday.

Here, CNBC breaks down all the issues as the Brexit negotiations begin.

What happens when Article 50 has been triggered?

A handwritten letter notifying the EU of the U.K.’s intention to leave is due to be delivered to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, by Tim Barrow, the U.K.’s ambassador to the EU, at 1:30 p.m. Brussels time.

Tusk has previously said the EU is ready to respond within 48 hours of obtaining the notification.

The two-year time limit can be extended with the unanimous consent of both the U.K. government and the European Council, which consists of the leader of each of the 27 member states remaining within the EU post-Brexit.

The deal will also be put forth for approval in each member state’s respective national parliament, which could potentially slow down the process should certain lawmakers object to particular conditions. Any deal must be approved by a “qualified majority” of EU member states and the European Parliament retains the right to a veto.

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