As the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU remain unclear, we would like to draw your attention to some possible changes that may affect British passport holders in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
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.
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.
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.
Driving licence requirements
Driving licence requirements will also be changing in a ‘no-deal’ scenario. UK driving licence holders looking to drive in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) on or after 31 October 2019 may need to apply for the relevant International Driving Permit. These cost £5.50 and are available directly from the Post Office.
The government is working to extend the network of Post Offices where you can apply for an International Driving Permit. Please check carefully which permit is required for each country you will be driving in. For more information visit this government webpage. A complete list of EU and EEA countries can be found by clicking here.
What you should do now
If you are planning on travelling to an EU or EEA country after 31 October 2019, 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 – you can check here.
For urgent new passport applications, please see gov.uk/get-a-passport-urgently. Alternatively, you can use CIBT to process urgent applications. For the latest information you can also refer to this government guide.
Regardless of the Brexit outcome there is every indication that flights and travel between the UK and EU will continue after 31 October 2019. 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. At present there is nothing to suggest that we won’t be able to operate your holiday as planned. If you have booked a package with us your holiday you 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. All of the holidays that we sell that include flights from the UK are also fully ATOL bonded.
We are here to help
Undoubtedly as 31 October draws closer, there will be further government advice and clarity on what a ‘no-deal’ scenario would mean to UK travellers and we will continue to update our advice, as appropriate.
And whilst having the correct documentation for travel is the responsibility of each traveller, if you are unclear please speak to your travel agent. Or for the latest information you can also refer to both the ABTA website and the UK government website.
If you have any further questions please call us 0800 0856 846