Like so many of us, you may be getting a little fed up with hearing the term Brexit, particularly with the deadline being pushed back each time the UK comes close to leaving. But as it stands, there will eventually be an official leaving date, at which time they’ll be a number of changes for those planning on travelling to the EU.
So far there has been a lot of speculation about what is going to happen, especially if the result is a no-deal Brexit. The problem is, there has also been a lot of scaremongering and rumours going around that simply aren’t true. So, to help clear things up a little this guide will look at some of the most important things you need to know about travelling to the EU after Brexit.
That said, it’s worth being aware that due to ongoing changes surrounding Brexit these rules and regulations could change in the future. But for now we’ll cover the most up to date information and the guidelines being set out by the UK Government. This guide from luggage shipping specialists My Baggage should help you prepare if you’re travelling to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein in the near future.
1. Checking your passport – is it still valid?
If the UK leaves Europe without a deal, there could be new rules and restrictions placed on British passports. The good news is, you won’t have to throw yours out immediately and get a new one, if your passport is still valid for a few years then it’s fine to use until it runs out. That said, new rules will mean that on the day you travel your passport must:
- Be less than 10 years old
- Still have at least six months remaining before its expiry date
If your passport does not meet these guidelines after Brexit, then you may need to renew it. Otherwise you could be denied access to EU nations, which could disrupt any trips or holidays you have planned. So it’s best to check your passport as soon as possible ad ensure it is valid for travel.
2. Entering other countries – border control and visas
It used to be that British Citizens were almost always allowed to enter EU nations unconditionally as long as they presented a valid ID. However, this will not be the case after Brexit. Of course, a valid form of ID will still be required, but officials may now ask for more details about your visit and perhaps even request the following before permitting you access to their country:
- Details of your trip and why you’re visiting
- A return or onward ticket
- Proving you have enough money for your stay or asking about proposed financial support
- You may have also to use different lanes or queuing systems
Not only this, but new visas may be introduced. This may not happen right away, but Brussels has said that they hope to have the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) in place by early 2021. At which point you might have to apply for a visa.
However, if you’re a tourist on a short trip (staying for less than 90 days in any 180-day period) then you won’t need to worry about this. But if you’re planning multiple trips, or you’re planning longer visits to study, work or on business, then you will need to do some research to find out what visas you need for your chosen destinations.
3. Travel and health insurance – getting the right cover
While there is still a lot to be decided about the UK’s departure from the EU, one of the biggest concerns for travellers is going to be health and travel insurance. After Brexit, it is unlikely that your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid. As such, you need to make sure you’ve got the correct travel insurance in case something happens and you need medical attention while you’re away.
One really important thing to note is that your EHIC would have covered pre-existing conditions, but many travel insurers do not, so spend time carefully choosing your policy to ensure you’ve got the best possible cover.
4. Driving in the EU – will the laws change?
While you’ll still be able to hire a car or drive your own vehicle overseas, you may need some additional documentation to do so. Firstly, you need to find out if your chosen destination requires you to have an International Driving Permit (IDP), you can find out which countries require those, here. What’s more, if you’re taking your own car you may also need the following:
- A ‘green card’
- A GB sticker
5. Mobile data and roaming – will I have to pay?
Nowadays we take for granted that we get free roaming and data in a lot of places, but this could change after Brexit. Before you travel anywhere you should check with your provider to see if they’re still offering reduced rates or free services, as old tariffs may no longer apply. The only upside is that a new law has been put in place to stop you from getting mobile charges of over £45 without first being alerted by your provider.
6. Travel disruption – ferries and flying
While no one wants to see the travel system break down, there may be some initial disruption to your travel. Particularly in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Government predicts that there will be severe congestion at ports like Dover in the wake of Brexit. But hopefully, over time as new systems are implemented some order will be restored. That said, new limitations and regulations means there could be longer queuing for anyone crossing the channel in the future. There may also be some delays to flights post-Brexit, though this will all depend on the outcome of the UK’s departure.
7. Taking animals abroad – can I still take my pet with me?
It used to be relatively easy to take small pets such as cats, dogs and ferrets into the EU and while no one is completely sure on the outcome of this yet, the rules are set to change. Current pet passports will no longer be valid for travel and anyone hoping to take their pet overseas with them will need to give themselves at least four months to complete the process.