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Current Brexit Advice

  • Current Brexit Advice

    Current Brexit Advice

    This information only covers areas where you can take reasonable action or put plans into place now. Areas where the situation is still unclear are not included, but the information will be updated once there is further clarification.

    UK passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey

    Please be aware that the rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the European Union (EU) with no deal.

    After 31 January 2020:

    1.      You should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival. This applies to adult and child passports.

    2.      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.

    The new rules will apply for travel to and between countries in the Schengen area. These are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

    With regard to visas, even in a no-deal scenario, UK travellers can still visit the EU without a visa, providing the same is offered to European citizens visiting the UK.  You shouldn’t need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit. The European Commission proposed in November 2018 that, even in a no-deal scenario, UK travellers can still visit the EU without a visa, providing the same is offered to European citizens visiting the UK. The European Commission has said that from 2021, UK citizens will need to pay a fee (of around 7 Euros) for this visa exemption. This is part of a new electronic travel authorisation system applying to all third country visitors to the EU, similar to the US ESTA regime.

    The new rules do not apply when travelling to Ireland.

    Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are not in the Schengen area.  For these countries, the UK and EU have agreed the full legal text of the draft Withdrawal Agreement in principle. This sets out that there will be no change to entry requirements for British citizens travelling to the EU or for EU citizens travelling to the UK during the Implementation/Transition Period (30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020).  The current entry requirement is that if your passport describes you as a British Citizen, you don’t need a visa to enter these countries for a stay of up to 90 days in any 180-day.  If you have another type of British nationality, you should check the current entry requirements with the appropriate Embassy for that country.

    There is now a page where you can check the required validity of your passport:

    Driving Licences

    As long as you have a full UK driving licence, you don’t currently need an additional licence to drive in the EU. This is likely to change in a no-deal scenario. UK travellers looking to drive in the EU on or after 31 January 2020 may need to apply for the relevant International Driving Permit (IDP).  There are 3 types of IDP but generally the 1968 IDP is more widely recognised but we would suggest that you check which is recognised.

    These cost £5.50 and you can get IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

    Check carefully which permit is required for each country you intend to drive within, as you may need more than one permit to comply with the law.

    Whether you are taking your own car, or hiring a car overseas, please refer to the following website for further advice:

    Health/Travel Insurance

    If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 January 2020, access to healthcare for British nationals travelling or living in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland is likely to change.

    You should still get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. UK-issued EHICs will remain valid until 31 January 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

    The EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

    The UK government has or is seeking agreements with countries on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after 31 January 2020. The NHS website and the travel pages will be updated with further information as the circumstances change.

    Whether you’re travelling before or after 31 January, it is important to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes cover for emergency medical treatment and associated costs. The existing EHIC arrangements are not an alternative to travel insurance, as some health-related costs, including for medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment, are not covered. 

    Data Roaming

    Under EU rules, the cost of making calls, sending messages or using the internet on your phone in the EU is the same in the UK. If the UK leaves without a deal these rules will no longer apply – however, some UK companies have said they may continue to offer this benefit to their customers. Before you travel, check with your mobile phone provider about the costs of using your phone in the EU.

    We will keep you updated, but would always recommend that you refer to the relevant country in the Foreign Travel Advice page - click here.


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