If you’ve booked a holiday or you’re in the middle of organising one, you’re probably wondering what impact Brexit, or a no-deal Brexit will have on your future travel plans. With customers feeling more concerned than ever and the uncertainty lingering on, we want to make you aware of some of the possible changes, from flights to visas and passports.
To put your mind at ease, we’ve answered some of your burning questions around holidays.
What happens if I am travelling before 31st October 2019?
After being granted a six-month extension and a new deadline of 31st October 2019, you can rest assured all your travel plans up until this date will remain the same. This mean you can still benefit from your European Health Insurance Card and you won’t require an International Driving Permit or Green Card for insurance if you’re planning to drive in Europe.
On top of that, your passport will still be valid which means you’ll be able to travel through the airport as normal using the gates signposted EU/EEA. Your air passenger rights and perks won’t alter either so you can still take advantage of compensation if your flight is cancelled or delayed as well as free roaming charges across all European countries.
What will happen after 31 October 2019?
If a deal is agreed before or on the 31st October 2019, no immediate changes will be made. The UK will enter what is known as transition period where everything will continue as normal. This means UK citizens won’t feel the effects straight away.
Should the government fail to come to a decision on or before the new deadline date and leave the EU in a no-deal scenario, there has been reassurances around flying and visas.
Although uncertain, we have answered some important questions to help you prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
Will I need a visa to enter Europe?
According to The European Parliament UK travellers won’t require a visa to travel to the EU post-Brexit. Even in the event of a no-deal, UK citizens will be restricted to a stay of 90 days within a 180-day period visa free.
Should I take out travel insurance to cover Brexit?
It is always recommended that you take out adequate insurance when travelling overseas. This is especially important for those with pre-existing medical conditions or those interested in adventurous activities. We also suggest checking your policy to see what is covered as this can vary widely.
According to the latest FCO advice, travellers will need to have six months validity on their passports from the date they return.
We also advise checking when your passport was renewed. Those who renewed their passport early may have additional months on top of the 10 years, however, it has been advised that these ‘extra’ months won’t be allowed within the 6 months validity required. The dates used for the validity will be 10 years from the passport issue dates and not the expiry dates.
If you are worried about your passport validity, we recommend using the government checking service.
European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance
As it stands, UK citizens have benefited from a European Health Insurance Card. This special cover means EU citizens can receive state medical care at a reduced rate, or for free. It is highly likely that EHIC’s will no longer be valid if we leave the EU.
As much as ABTA always advise taking out adequate travel insurance, if the withdrawal goes through, this will be more important than ever. Again, it is always worth checking your policy’s Terms and Conditions to make sure the insurance is right for you.
Drivers don’t currently require an additional license if they want to drive in Europe, but this could all be about to change in the light of a no-deal. It’s likely that UK holidaymakers will need to apply for an International Driving Permit, which will need to be purchased before you travel.
But the good news is – these will be available from the Post Office at small cost of around £5.50. We also suggest checking the country in which you’re travelling to ensure you have the correct permit.
Green cards for car insurance
Green cards for car insurance are another change we may need to consider if we leave the EU. Carrying a green card means your UK car insurance is valid when driving overseas. For more information on this, we advise speaking to your insurer after the 31ST October 2019.
We suspect that travellers may be required to pay a small fee to cover any admin costs, while failure to obtain a card could result in a huge bill, so it’s important to take this into consideration.
More recently, the EU also introduced new data roaming rules which scrapped additional charges when travelling to EU countries. This meant UK holidaymakers could use their phones as normal without worrying about being hit with extortionate bills on their return.
In the likelihood of a no-deal scenario, we anticipate that such perks will no longer apply. If this is the case, some phone providers may continue to offer the same benefits. However, this is something you will need to check with your supplier.