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BREXIT TRAVEL ADVICE

 

 

UPDATED 20th August 2019

So far the Government and the EU Member States have agreed a Withdrawal Agreement for when the UK leaves the EU. Whilst UK Parliament negotiate the exit position it remains a little up in the air on what this actually means for consumers who intend to travel to Europe. Below are some useful bits of information, which should help to clarify the key questions. 

ABTA has identified specific actions travellers may need to take in advance, the information only covers areas where they 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.

For more information about ABTA guidance click here (regularly updated​)

Advice for travellers on actions you may need to take if you're travelling in or to the EU after the leave date.

Many people are already booking their travel plans for 2019, and have questions about what might happen after the leave date when the UK leaves the European Union (EU). The political process is still ongoing and we don't yet know the final outcome, however there have been some reassurances recently around flights and visas and these are reflected in our frequently asked questions.

We have also identified actions travellers may wish to take in advance to help avoid unnecessary future disruption in the event of a no-deal scenario.

Will flights still operate?

In short yes - UK citizens can be reassured that regardless of the Brexit outcome planes will still fly between the UK and the EU. The more detailed answer is in the ABTA communication we linked to earlier.

Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?

In short no. UK travellers won’t need a visa regardless of the Brexit outcome for visits up to 90 days within a 180-day period. The more detailed answer is in the ABTA communication we linked to earlier.

What happens if I book to travel after the leave date and my holiday cannot go ahead due to Brexit?

There is nothing to suggest that you will not be able to continue with your holiday plans after the leave date.  Even in a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has said flights to and from the UK will still be able to operate.

Customers who book a package holiday with a UK travel company enjoy the most comprehensive consumer protection:  if you book a package, your holiday will be protected under the Package Travel Regulations, meaning you have a right to a full refund if your holiday can no longer be provided.

Passports

Check the date your passport expires. When travelling to the EU after the leave date, the UK government recommends that you have six months left on your passport on the date of your arrival to an EU country.

You should also check when your passport was renewed. If 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.

Full details on renewing your passport can be found here.

European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. In 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. If you have an annual policy, make sure you check the Terms and Conditions and contact your insurance provider if you’re not sure.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 4/2/19

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on the leave date, access to healthcare for British nationals travelling or living in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland is likely to change. More information about healthcare for UK nationals living in and visiting Austria is available on the NHS website.

You should still get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. UK-issued EHICs will remain valid until the leave date 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. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Austrian nationals. 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 the leave date. The NHS website and this travel advice will be updated with further information on travelling to Austria as the circumstances change.

Whether you’re travelling before or after the leave date, 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. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.

Advice on travel insurance can be found here

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 the leave date may need to apply for the relevant International Driving Permit.

These cost £5.50 and are available directly from the AA, the RAC or the Post Office. The Government is working to extend the network of Post Offices where you can apply for an International Driving Permit, and has plans to roll these out in more branches across the UK from 1 February 2019.

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.

More information is available here

Green cards for car insurance

If the UK leaves without a deal, UK citizens driving their vehicle 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 the leave date.

Taking pets abroad

In 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. If you wish to take your pet to the EU on or after the leave date 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 keep an eye out for any further instructions issued by the UK Government.

More information is available here

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.

 

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