Amid the barrage of information from the media it’s easy to be confused with the situation regarding Brexit. The Government regularly reviews the official advice it offers and the following article is based on the latest Brexit travel advice.
Currently The UK will leave the European Union on October 31st at the latest, with the option to leave earlier if a deal is reached. This is the summary of advice for individuals travelling to Europe or have bookings for travel in the future. Full details of all Government advice can be found on the dedicated GOV.UK website.
You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling after 31 October 2019 and there’s no deal (these rules don’t apply to Ireland)
On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:
- have at least 6 months left
- be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)
You can check the validity of your passport.
If there is a deal, there will be no changes to how you enter the EU or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland until at least 31 December 2020. You can travel without a visa during this time.
If there’s no deal, you will not need a visa for short trips, according to European Commission proposals. You could stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, or to work or study.
If there is no deal there may be other changes from 31 October 2019.
At border control in keeping with immigration policies of many other countries, you may need to show a return or onward ticket, show you have enough money for your stay and use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queuing.
Whether there’s a deal or not, you should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad. If there’s a deal, you’ll continue to get state-provided healthcare in the EU if you have a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card. The scheme also covers Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. If there’s no deal, your EHIC card may not be valid. It’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not.
If you are planning to drive you will need some extra documents if there’s no deal. If you’re taking your vehicle, you’ll need:
- a free ‘green card’ – allow 1 month to get this from your vehicle insurance company
- a GB sticker
- an International Driving Permit (IDP) for some countries
If you’re hiring a vehicle abroad, you do not need a green card or GB sticker. Check if you need an IDP on the Post Office website.
Even if there’s no deal, the following will be able to run as before:
- ferries and cruises
- the Eurostar and Eurotunnel
- bus and coach services between the UK and the EU
- airport security procedures will not change for direct flights to and from the UK
- there should not be delays at airport security if you change flights in EU airports
Bus and coach services to non-EU countries, for example Switzerland or Andorra, may not be able to run. The government is working to make sure these continue with minimal or no disruption. Check back for updates or contact the company you booked with if you’ve any questions. However you travel, check with the company you’re travelling with for any delays or disruption before you leave.
If there’s no deal, you will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead you’ll need to follow a different process, which takes 4 months. Follow the guidance about pet travel to Europe after Brexit.
If there’s no deal, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end.
If there’s no deal, you’ll need to declare cash of £10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you take it between the UK and any other country.
All current Brexit guidance can be found on the dedicated GOV.UK website.