5 things to know about travelling to Europe after Brexit

Travelling to Europe after Brexit

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit! Seems to be all the rage right now yet strangely no one seems to know what’s going on with it. Will we leave and if so, with or without baggage?! One thing that’s clear though, is that nothing is actually clear at all! With no definitive answer yet on a deal or no-deal Brexit and the potential to impact on your travel plans, here are 5 things to know about travelling to Europe after Brexit.

Passport renewal

Whether you’re travelling before or after “Brexit”, it’s best to check how long you’ve got left on your passport. Those with UK passports can currently to travel to certain areas of the EU as long as a passport is valid on the day you travel back to the UK. Brexit will change that especially if there’s no deal. If your passport has less than six months you’ll need to renew now! In some cases depending on the country you’re visiting, you may need more than that to get you into Europe.

Picture of passport and money
Passport and money

Renew now!
The government gave a date of Friday 8 March to renew your passport – if you’ve not enough validity left. Therefore, if yours needs renewing you look into it now. If you’re planning an Easter getaway, you may have to put it on hold. If you don’t do this you could be refused entry into European countries. It’s not to late to renew your passport it just means you’ll get it after we will apparently Brexit. The simplest and quickest way is to do so online if you can.

Need to know
Even if you previously renewed your passport early and have more than 9 months in carry over, this may not count as part of the minimum six-month requirement. Check beforehand.

Visas for EU travel

There’s been talk about whether or not UK nationals would need to have a Visa in order to travel to the EU after Brexit. If you’re a British citizen, between now and 2020 you won’t need a visa to get into Europe after Brexit – if you’re staying for a short time.  However after this, you’ll need to apply for an ETIAS – The European Travel Information and Authorization System. It’s the form similar to the one you’d fill in if you were visiting the US.  

International driving permits (IDP)

The formalities of driving after Brexit is something not everyone has thought about. Right now if you’re driving to the EU or you want to hire a vehicle to drive while there, as long as you have a full UK driving license you can drive in most countries in the EU using that alone. In some cases you may need a permit. You usually find there are no issues.

No deal
However, if you’re driving to the EU or hiring a car post-Brexit and there’s no deal, until the government decides, you’ll need to have what’s called an IDP – an International Driving Permit. The permit will allow you to drive in a number of countries where your UK license alone will no longer be recognised.

IF we leave with a deal (of sorts) you may still be able to continue driving in Europe sing just your full UK driving license. International driving permits are broken up into three categories:

  • 1949 Convention IDP
    You’ll require this sort of permit is you want to drive in Spain, Malta, Cyprus or Iceland.
  • 1968 Convention IDP
    If you want to drive in any other EU country, or Norway or Switzerland, you’ll have to get a 1968 Convention IDP.
  • 1926 Convention
    This is needed of you want to travel to Liechtenstein.

You may find that one IDP is not enough.  For example, if you’re driving or hiring a car in Spain you’ll need a 1949 permit but if you also plan on visiting another EU country like Croatia and hiring a car, you’ll also need a 1968 permit as well.

Need to know
If you need to purchase any of the IDP’s, it will cost you £5.50 per permit. The example above means you’d have to pay a total of £11 for two permits to cover you in both countries. You’ll need to get your permit(s) before you leave, and the easiest way is from your local post office.  You’ll also need to take a passport size photo(s) in order to get your permit(s).

Airport queues and flights

You may have heard warnings last year about not booking any flights until after 29 March. Looking at it realistically (well hopefully) the EU are unlikely to stop flights from the UK to Europe. It would cause too much disruption and loss of money. If you’ve already booked post-Brexit flights, prepare for some travel chaos especially if we leave with no deal.

Watching the departure board - airport
Flight delays - watching the departure board

You’ll probably come across longer queues at UK airports, not to mention queues at your destination. There will now be even more passport checks. This is to make sure people have the right amount of validity left on their passport. If anything, it’ll be reminiscent of many, many years ago – more queues!  

EHIC cards and travel insurance

If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC Card) it will no longer be valid after 29 March – if we leave without a deal. You should make sure any travel insurance purchased includes adequate health insurance to keep you covered. If we leave with a deal, then the EHIC card may still be valid for a few years. Check your card to see whether it runs out soon. if it does, you may want to consider getting one before 29 March if we leave with a deal.  Those are the main things you need to start looking into now before going on your holidays. I don’t think many people thought about the real impact Brexit would have on something as simple as travel. Until the UK government can come to some sort of agreement on anything, looks like we’ll all feel the brunt of Brexit! I’ll be off on another trip “post-Brexit” so I’ll let you know how I can on!  

Hope this helps!

What issues have you run into or have you found something out that others need to know which I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments or drop me an email.

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