28 October 2019 by David Warne
With the uncertainty surrounding travel after the UK's departure from the EU, we've put together this handy guide to holidaying in a post-Brexit world.
Following the outcome of the general election, there is now more certainty surrounding the UK's departure from the EU. As such, there's every indication that flights and travel between the UK and EU will continue as normal after 31 January and throughout any trade deal negotiations, which are due to conclude at the end of 2020. At this point, and even in the case of a ‘no-deal’ scenario, the European Commission and UK government have said that UK and EU airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU.
There is nothing to suggest that we won’t be able to operate your holiday as planned. Your holiday will be protected under the Package Travel Regulations, meaning you’ll have the right to a full refund in the unlikely event that your holiday can no longer be provided for any reason irrespective of when you booked your holiday.
Brexit: what you need to know
If the UK leaves with a deal, travel between the UK and the EU will remain the same as now until at least 31 December 2020. You will not need to apply for a visa to travel to the EU during this time.
If, however, the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there are some areas where changes will apply and you may need to take action now to prepare for the impact of a possible ‘no-deal’ Brexit on your holiday to an EU or EEA country.
For further information, the Foreign Office has provided a guide to visiting Europe after Brexit.
Passport rules will be changing in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. After the UK's departure, you should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival in an EU or EEA country. This applies to both adult and child passports. If you renewed a passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe. See gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-brexit to check if you need to renew your passport before you travel.
Visa and entry requirements
The European Commission has proposed that in a no-deal scenario British Citizens will still be able to travel to the EU without a visa for short stays. However, if you plan to stay within the Schengen area (which covers most of the EU - excluding Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania – plus Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland) for more than 90-days, or will have spent more than 90 days in any 180-day period in the Schengen area, you will need to apply for a visa prior to travel.
On arrival in the Schengen Area, you may be asked to confirm that you have sufficient funds available for the duration of your stay. Different border control checks will apply, and you may also be asked to show a return or onward ticket and UK nationals would not have an ongoing right to use the separate lanes provided for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals.
Driving licence requirements will also be changing in a ‘no-deal’ scenario. UK driving licence holders planning to drive in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) on or after the UK's departure from the EU may need to apply for the relevant International Driving Permit (IDP) depending on the destination country. For more information, visit gov.uk/guidance/driving-in-the-eu-after-brexit-international-driving-permits.
IDPs cost £5.50 and are available directly from the Post Office – for details, visit postoffice.co.uk/identity/international-driving-permit. There is more than one type of IDP so please check carefully which is required for each country you will be driving in. A complete list of EU and EEA countries can be found here.
If you are taking your own vehicle you’ll also need a ‘green card’ (you should allow at least one month to obtain one from your vehicle insurance company) and a GB sticker for your car (even if your number plate already shows a GB identifier).
European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC)
You should always take out appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you travel abroad. After Brexit European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) cards may no longer be valid. It is particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition as the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not. The government has produced a guide to buying travel insurance after Brexit.
Important: what you should do now
If you are planning on travelling to an EU or EEA country after 31 January 2020, please check the validity of your passport straight away. If your passport will not have sufficient validity in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit please apply for a new passport as soon as possible.
If you are planning on driving in the EU, Iceland or Norway on or after the UK's departure from the EU, please check whether the countries you intend to drive in require you to have an International Driving Permit (ID). If an IDP is required please apply in plenty of time before you travel.