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How Will Brexit Affect Travel?

As we approach the Brexit deadline of 29 March 2019 and with the Brexit saga continuing, there is still a huge amount of uncertainty on just how the UK will actually leave the European Union. Whether a deal is agreed or not, we thought we would look at how travel; passports, flights, car rental, visas and currency will be impacted by Brexit.

Passports

At the moment, you can travel to EU countries on your passport right up to the point it expires - should the UK leave the EU with no deal you will need at least six months left on your passport from your date of arrival at your destination.

If you have previously renewed a passport before it expired, up to nine extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over ten years may not count towards the six months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe. To may sure you have a valid passport, the Government has issued a tool to check your passport for travel to Europe without a deal after 29 March.

The look of British passports will obviously change too - any new UK passports issued after 30 March 20 19 will have the words ‘European Union’ removed from the cover and the first page and will remain burgundy. By October 2019 the cover of UK passports will change to dark blue.

Flights

The open skies agreement which allows aircraft to fly between any two points in Europe is currently a particular concern to many airlines however, the Government has stated that nothing will change during the Brexit transition period which is expected to run until December 2020.

With a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has advised that UK airlines can continue to operate flights between the UK and EU, however the UK government are warning that there could be disruption to some flights.

Visas

The European Commission has confirmed that you won’t need to apply for a visa if you are travelling this year, however from 2021 you may be required to pay a seven euro fee every three years to enter the Schengen countries after Brexit. If no agreement is in place Britons may require visas.

Currency

A weak pound generally means more expensive holidays and since the referendum vote in 2016, the pound has been significantly weaker against both the euro and the US dollar. There is absolutely no way to predict what will happen after March 29, but a no-deal Brexit could see the pound weaken for a time. However, leaving the EU with a deal may see it increase.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

The European Health Insurance Card EHIC entitles UK citizens to free or reduced-cost treatment in other EU countries and has been a great benefit of EU membership as it entitles the same health care as locals when visiting a member state. The agreement will have to be renegotiated depending on whether we leave with a deal or without a deal. In the event of no deal the EHIC will no longer work after 29 March 2019 so travellers are being advised to check their travel insurance to ensure they have emergency cover if medical attention is needed. Check out the NHS website who has issued advise for anyone travelling to the EU, EEA and Switzerland.

Mobile phone charges

Another benefit of being a member of the EU has been the elimination of roaming charges when visiting other EU countries. After 29 March 2019, the law banning mobile phone companies from charging extra for calls and data in Europe will cease. It will up to mobile phone providers to set out exactly what will happen and if they intend to maintain the availability of roaming in the EU at no additional cost.

Driving in Europe

Currently British drivers can able to drive in the EU with their own licenses. Renting cars or taking your own car abroad after Brexit are likely to need to obtain an International Driving Permit.

Different EU countries are signed up to different treaties for if you are travelling through France to Spain you may need both types. Permits can be obtained at selected Post Offices and you must take your driving licence, additional ID and a signed passport photo. They currently cost £5.50 each.

Business as usual

Although the Brexit situation is changing almost every day, I Love meet and greet’s advice for anyone travelling to Europe over the next month or so, is to remember that it is business as usual until Britain actually leaves the EU and all existing regulations will stay in place until the government has negotiated the final deal.


By Sarah Anglim at 4 Feb 2019

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