With less than a month before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, concerns are growing about how travel will be affected after Brexit.
Due to happen on Halloween day, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, says he working to secure a deal and the government’s advertising campaigns insists that “The UK will leave the EU on 31 October 2019.”
No-one can be sure what post Brexit Britain will look like but here is what we do know about the implications for travel:
Can I use my current passport after Brexit?
After Brexit, the UK will be demoted to a “third country” status. This means that though British passport holders can continue to use their passport you must have have a minimum of six months’ validity left.
IMPORTANT TIP FOR THOSE WHO RENEWED BEFORE 2018: Crucially, no passport can be valid for more than 10 years. This is important for those who renewed their passport BEFORE 2018. This is because before then anyone who renewed their passports and had some months remaining, those months would have been added to the new passport as standard. Unfortunately, these unexpired months are no longer valid thanks to the 10-year rule, and so if these extra months make up the six months remaining on your passport, your passport is not valid.
Children’s passports that were issued are generally valid for 5 years and so any extra months would not conflict with the EU’s 10-year maximum.
What happens if my passport becomes invalid while I am abroad?
If you are abroad on 31 October with a passport that ceases to be valid the likelihood is that there will be leniency and you would be able travel home without a problem. However if you decide to stay for several months, this may not be the case.
When will blue passports replace the burgundy EU ones?
As yet, we do not know. Talk was that this would happen this autumn but there is no sign of that just now.
Will we need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?
As it stands British travellers will not need a visa to travel to Europe for stays up to 90 days in every 180 days. What this means that you can visit several times with a gap of 180 days between in visit. And you can spend two stretches of three months in the EU each year, but they have to be at least three months apart.
For those who like to spend winter months in the sun this will probably be an inconvenience.
Will things change visa-wise?
Yes. in 2021 changes in requirements to travel to EU will take come into place. UK citizens will have to apply in advance for an Etias (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), the “Euro-visa” that non-EU citizens from some countries must obtain.
The thinking behind this is that it will reduce the “migration, security or public-health risk” from nationals of visa-exempt third countries, which is what the UK will become after Brexit.
It will cost €7 for three years – and is similar to the Esta visa waiver program required by UK citizens to enter the US.
Will I be able to use EHIC to get medical treatment in the EU?
The Ehic (European Health Insurance Card) meant that UK citizens carrying the card could enjoy medical treatment in EU countries in the same way as the locals.
This perk is due to end from midnight on 31 October if there is a no-deal.
Tip: Be sure to ensure you have adequate medical insurance when you buy travel insurance.
What about roaming charges when I use my mobile phones?
The guarantee of being able to use roaming in the EU for the same cost as using it at home will no longer exist. It becomes a commercial decision. by the mobile operators as to whether or not they reinstate charges.
However, operators we have spoken to such as EE and Three say they have no plans to impose charges. But this could change at any time after October 31 2019.
Check with your phone operator to find out about about their policy.
Will still be able to drive in the EU?
You will need to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP). You can pick one up at larger post offices. You will need your driving licence, a passport photo and £5.50. You may need more than one as these forms date back to the last century. A 1949 IDP covers Spain, Cyprus and Malta, while a 1968 version is valid everywhere else in the EU.
You will have to check your motor insurance policy to ensure that you are covered when travelling in the EU. They can provide on request a “Green Card”, for a fee.
Don’t wait till the last minute as you may not get the paperwork done in time – allow one month to get this from your vehicle insurance company.
What about taking my pet abroad?
It’s not entirely clear what European Union will apply. Check with your vet. The government advised that “you should contact your vet at least four months before travelling.”
Long-term effects on travel
Up to now we have enjoyed the freedom of the “open skies” (an agreement between countries that allows any number of airlines to fly between f them without any restrictions). It is unclear what will change at this time.
However we can guess that the number of travellers into the UK from the EU may reduce because the government wants tourists from the EU to have a full passport rather than an ID card. This could affect EU citizens that have ID cards but not passports.