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lf the Government agrees a deal on or before that date, the UK will then enter a transition period and everything will continue to remain the same and you can continue to travel as you do now.
There is still a possibility that the UK could leave the EU at the end of January without a deal. There have been reassurances around flights and visas, these are reflected in our frequently asked questions below.
We have also identified actions travellers may wish to take in advance of their journeys to help avoid unnecessary future disruption in the event of a no-deal scenario.
|Flights||Ferries & Cruise Ships||Coaches||Trains|
|Visas||Insurance to Cover Brexit||Passports||EHIC & Travel Insurance|
|UK Medical Prescriptions||Driving Licences||Green Cards for Car Insurance||Taking Pets Abroad|
|Data Roaming||Duties, VAT & Excise||Package Holidays|
UK citizens can be reassured that regardless of the Brexit outcome planes will still fly between the UK and the EU: if a deal is agreed then we will be in the transition period, meaning everything will stay the same until the end of December 2020 and flights will continue as normal. Even if we are in a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has said that UK airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU. The UK government has offered similar assurances for EU airlines.
Ferry services and cruises will still sail, as the majority of the rules under which they operate are not based on EU rules, but are international.
Coaches will still be able to travel to and from the EU, and are expected to continue to take passengers to and around EU countries as usual.
It is expected that trains from the UK to the EU will continue to operate. Ahead of your journey, check with your travel company to see if there is any additional information you need to be aware of.
The European Parliament has confirmed that UK travellers won't need a visa to travel the EU after Brexit, even if the UK leaves without a deal. UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa.
However, from the exit date, UK nationals who pass through international transit areas of airports situated in the EU27 Member States (with the exception of Ireland) and the Schengen Associated Countries; Iceland, Norway and Switzerland; when travelling between the UK and another third country are advised to apply for an Airport Transit Visa in good time before they travel, as the exemption for transit currently in place will no longer apply.
From 2021, UK residents will likely be included in the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), similar to the US ESTA regime. ETIAS will require an electronic travel authority (ETA) to be issued by the EU prior to a person’s arrival into the Schengen Zone. Each ETIAS granted will be valid for 3 years and will cost €7, with applications completed online. Before boarding, passenger carriers will need to check that third country nationals subject to the travel authorisation requirement are in possession of a valid travel authorisation.
The best way to protect your holiday is to book a package - it is the travel provider's responsibility to make sure your holiday is provided and to offer an alternative or refund if it cannot be delivered.
It is important that whenever and wherever you travel that you have adequate travel insurance which covers your specific needs, including any known medical conditions or activities you plan to do. lt is also worth checking the detail of the policy around travel disruption including delays or cancellations as policies do vary.
Advice for travellers
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 clarified. The Government also has information for travellers available at www.gov.uk/EUexit
Check the date your passport expires. lf we leave the EU without a deal, the UK government recommends that you have 6 months left on your passport on the date of your arrival in an EU country. You should also check when your passport was renewed. lf you renewed a 10-year adult passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport's expiry date. These extra months over 10 years will not count towards the 6 months that must be remaining. The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules. You can renew your passport online or by going to a Post Office with a Check and Send service. You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
The European Health lnsurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. ln the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK registered EHICs will no longer be valid. ABTA has always advised holidaymakers and business travellers to make sure they have appropriate travel insurance, whether they have an EHIC card or not, as there are limitations to EHIC. When travelling in the EU and beyond, it is important you take out travel insurance and check that it covers your current circumstances, including any medical conditions. lf you have an annual policy, make sure you check the Terms and Conditions and contact your insurance provider if you're not sure.
Medical prescriptions issued in the UK will no longer be recognised in the EU27 Member States as of the withdrawal date. Passengers should seek advice from their doctors if they will be affected by this change.
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 an lnternational Driving Permit. Whether you need an lnternational Driving Permit or not will depend on where you are travelling to and for how long. There are a number of different permits available for different areas of the EU, so you should 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. lnternational Driving Permits cost £5.50 and are available directly from the Post Office. Full details about lnternational Driving Permits, including what permit you need for each country can be found at www.gov.uk. The Government is also advising that you will need a GB sticker for your car when driving in the EU after Brexit.
lf the UK leaves without a deal, UK citizens driving their vehicles within the EU would be required to obtain and carry a physical Green Card in order for your UK car insurance to be applicable in the EU. These cards would be issued by insurers and you may be charged a small fee to cover administration costs. Speak with your insurer for more information on obtaining a Green Card for any trip on or after 31 January 2020. The ABI - the trade body for the insurance industry - recommends you contact your car insurance company at least one month in advance of travelling.
ln the event of a no-deal, pets would continue to be able to travel from the UK to the EU, but the requirements for documents and health checks would change. lf you wish to take your pet to the EU on or after 31 January 2020 pet owners would need to discuss preparations for their pet's travel with an Official Veterinarian at least four months in advance of the date they wish to travel. Pet owners should look out for any further instructions issued by the UK Government.
Under EU rules, the cost of making calls, sending messages or using the internet on your phone in the EU is the same as 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.
ln the event of a no-deal scenario, people travelling between the UK and EU would be entitled to duty free allowances on certain goods. For travel to the EU, information on the goods involved, and allowances, can be obtained from the European Commission website. Similar rules apply when travelling into the UK from outside of the EU currently, and these rules would likely be extended to arrivals from within the EU in the event of a no-deal scenario. Only travellers carrying goods within the limits and exemptions listed would be entitled to use the green customs lanes upon arrival in either direction. ln addition, UK travellers would be entitled to VAT refunds where they have paid VAT when purchasing certain goods within the EU, providing these were presented to customs on departure from the EU with the relevant VAT refund documentation. The EU publishes a guide on VAT refunds that UK travellers should familiarise themselves with.
lf a customer buys a package holiday that doesn't go ahead for any reason other than the customer's own cancellation; non-appearance; or other failure to meet their obligations under the contract, the tour operator is required to give a full refund of payments received for that package. Therefore, we believe that the general position where an organiser cannot provide package holiday services due to a no-deal exit would be that the organiser is required to give customers a refund. However, the organiser would not be liable for additional compensation. This would be the case, even in the absence of a specific 'Brexit clause' in the consumer contract. lf the package cannot be delivered due to a no-deal exit, then, in our view, that will be because the lack of services is attributable to a third party unconnected with the provision of the travel services (the Government or the EU) and is unforeseeable or unavoidable (Regulation 16(a) PTRs 2018). The Government has consistently indicated that there will be a deal which will allow UK consumers to continue to travel after the UK departs the EU. Any problems arising on the relevant services directly from the fact that no deal has been achieved will certainly be unavoidable as far as the package organiser is concerned. Further, Regulation 1-3 says that where an organiser is prevented from performing the contract because of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances, they may terminate the contract and provide the traveller with a full refund of any payments made for the package, but are not liable for additional compensation. 'Unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances' are defined as a situation beyond the control of the party who seeks to rely on such a situation the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. Circumstances where an organiser is prevented from performing the package contract for reasons directly related to a 'no deal' exit will be beyond the organiser's control and it is difficult to see what measures could be taken to avoid it.