What you need to know about post-Brexit travel
With the UK set to leave the European Union in just a few weeks, travel insurance expert Allianz Assistance UK has advised what people should consider when booking a holiday or travelling to Europe after 31 October 2019.
Lee Taylor, chief sales officer at Allianz Partners UK, said: “Although the date has ghoulish connotations, people needn’t be scared or worried; planning and being aware of what needs to be done and where to find out relevant information is the key to having a successful trip to Europe post-Brexit.”
Firstly, anyone travelling overseas will need to check the date their passport expires. The government recommends six months are left on your passport on the date of your arrival in an EU country.
However, if you have renewed a 10-year adult passport before it expired, you’ll need to check to see if extra months have been added to the expiry date; these extra months will not count towards the six months that must be remaining.
You will not need a visa. Even if we leave without a deal, the European Parliament has confirmed UK citizens won’t need a visa to travel to the EU and will be able to do so for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
Flights to Europe will continue to operate. The European Commission has said UK airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU, and the UK Government has offered similar assurances for EU airlines.
“It is worth noting though, many travel insurance policies will not cover Brexit-related travel disruption, such as delayed flights or ferries resulting in the need for additional accommodation. If a holiday is scheduled for a trip around the time Britain is set to leave the EU, holidaymakers should consider their options,” said Taylor. “Insurance is the fund of last resort for travel disruption. Holidaymakers should contact their travel provider or airline in the first instance, and customers who have purchased an ABTA-protected trip or have used a credit card, will have additional consumer protection.”
British citizens are currently entitled to a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. However, UK-registered EHICs will no longer be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Whilst the government is taking steps to protect healthcare access for UK nationals living in the EU after 31 October, these new measures do not apply to anyone travelling to Europe on holiday after exit day.
There has been news that EHIC arrangements will continue in Spain after the UK leaves the EU and the country passed legislation to guarantee continued healthcare access to British residents and tourists after Brexit, as long as certain reciprocal conditions for its own citizens are met. Nevertheless, the details of EHIC access in other EU countries is unlikely to be known until after exit day.
Holidaymakers should check their insurance policy covers for any pre-existing medical conditions and medical emergencies, including repatriation. People who hold annual policies will need to check with their provider for any changes.
Currently drivers with a full UK driving licence don’t need an additional licence to drive in the EU. However, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal in October, then an International Driving Permit (IDP) will be needed alongside a main driving licence, if you are planning to drive whilst you are on your travels. This could apply if you are taking your own car abroad or hiring a car at your European destination.
For UK citizens driving their own cars to the EU, if the UK leaves without a deal, a physical “green card” is needed for 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.