This page is updated regularly due to the ever-changing nature of the subject. Last updated on Monday 13th July 2020
Whether you support or oppose Brexit, there is no denying that it is a major political challenge that affects nearly all aspects of our lives including travelling to the continent.
Over 32 million Britons holiday in the EU each year. Many of our customers have already booked their travel for next year or are planning to book soon so, to avoid any unnecessary disruption to your travel plans, we are taking extra steps to make sure you are aware of any measures you may need to consider before or during travelling.
The EU is largely to thank for many travel laws and regulations that are currently in place in the UK like financial protection for package holidays, cheaper flights to more locations, compensation for delayed flights, caps on mobile roaming charges, access to free healthcare and cleaner beaches. Thankfully, there are safeguards in place that will see many of these regulations transferred into British law once the UK has left the EU.
As a member of ABTA, we are being updated continually on the situation and the effects it will inevitably have on the travel sector. We've identified specific actions UK customers may need to take in advance, the 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.
- We're ABTA and ATOL protected. This means you have the benefit of ABTA’s assistance and Code of Conduct. All the package and Flight-Plus holidays we sell are covered by a scheme protecting your money if the supplier fails.
- Regardless of the outcome of politcal negotiations, you will still be able to fly between the UK and the EU.
- You will not need a VISA to travel, even without a deal.
- Your passport will still be valid but you should have more than 6 months remaining.
- During the Transition Period you can continue to drive on the continent, use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and use EU/EEC queues at borders as before.
How does the Brexit decision affect my holiday?
The UK left the EU on Friday 31 January 2020. There is now a transition period until 31 December 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate future arrangements.
The current rules on travel between the UK and EU will continue to apply during the transition period and any new rules will take effect on 1 January 2021.This means your customers can continue to travel to the EU exactly as they do now (they won’t need a visa or additional requirements such as six months validity left on their passport).
While nothing changes for UK nationals travelling to the EU during the transition period, there are some things that we would like you to be aware of.
For comprehensive information and advice about visiting Europe from 1 January 2021, please visit the UK Government website here.
- European Health Insurance Card and Travel Insurance
- Driving Licences
- Green Cards for Car Insurance
- Taking Pets Abroad
- Data Roaming
- Package Travel Regulations & Consumer rights
- Overseas visitors
Until 31 December 2020, you can continue to travel to Europe with your UK passport until it expires, as long as your passport is valid for the length of your stay. This includes all current passport designs.
You can continue to use the EU/EEA Citizens lane at border passport controls during the Transition Period.
The European Parliament has confirmed that UK travellers won’t need a visa to travel the EU after Brexit. UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa.
If you are visiting the EU, you can still use your EHIC as normal to access public healthcare for free or at a reduced cost until the end of 2020 (N.B. EHIC cards issued after 1 February 2020 will no longer feature the EU stars). Even if you apply for a new EHIC, it is still valid until the end of 2020. However, you shouldn’t only rely on your EHIC - take out travel insurance that covers your healthcare needs.
The NHS website provides comprehensive information about healthcare abroad.
ABTA-issued advice on travel insurance may be found here.
You may continue driving in the EU using a valid UK driving licence until at least 31 December 2020. Check gov.uk/driving-abroad for a step-by-step guide, and any requirements specific to the country you’re driving in.
The UK Governement has confirmed that you may need additional documents to drive in the EU after 31 December 2020 including an International Driving Permit (IDP) and a GB sticker.
Once the Transition Period comes to an end on 31 December 2020, UK citizens driving their vehicle within the EU may be required to obtain and carry a physical Green Card for your UK car insurance to be applicable in the EU. Insurers issue these cards, 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 post-Transition Period.
During the transition period, you can continue to use your Pet Passport to travel with your pet to the EU until 31 December 2020. If you don’t have a current UK–issued EU Pet Passport, you will need to speak to your vet.
You must get your dog or cat microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies before it can travel.
Once the Transition Period comes to an end you will not be able to use the EU Pet Passport scheme. Instead you will have to follow a different process which takes four months. For example, if you are planning to drive to France with your pet in April 2021, you must start preparing your pet's travel plans in January.
More information is available here.
Currently you can travel in the EU with guaranteed surcharge-free roaming. This means you can use your mobile devices to make calls, send texts and use mobile data services for no more than you would be charged when in the UK.
Roaming will remain surcharge-free post-Transition Period however the amount that EU mobile operators would be able to charge UK operators for providing roaming services would no longer be regulated. This would mean that surcharge-free roaming when you travel to the EU could no longer be guaranteed.
Most UK mobile operators (incl EE, Vodafone, Three and o2) have confirmed that they will not be reintroducing roaming charges but you should check before you travel.
A recently introduced law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing.
Once you reach £45, you'll need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you’re abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this.
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.
The UK Government has confirmed that the Package Travel Regulations will remain in UK law when the UK leaves the EU.
Your consumer rights in regards to travelling will remain largely unchanged.
You will have the same rights under UK law in the event of denied boarding, cancellation or long delay of passenger air, rail, road or sea services. For EU registered passenger transport operators, EU law will continue to apply in respect of journeys to and from the EU.
There has been no change to visa & passport requirements for visitors from non-EU countries. Your passport must be valid for 3 months beyond your stay and issued within the past 10 years. Visas are not normally required for US, Australian, New Zealand or Canadian nationals dependent upon your length of stay.
Flights will continue as normal after Brexit. Both the UK and EU want flights to continue without any disruption. There will be no impact to direct flights to non-EU countries.
Before you leave for the airport, check online for the latest travel information and scheduled services from your airline.
Aviation security for passengers
From 31 January 2020, most passengers will not experience any difference in aviation security screening. The UK will continue to apply robust aviation security measures and prioritise passenger safety and security.
The European Commission has proposed measures to avoid extra security screening of passengers from the UK when transferring to onward flights at EU airports.
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.
Eurostar trains from the UK to the EU will continue to operate as normal. We would advise you to check before you travel to see if there is any cancellations, delays or additional information you need to be aware of.
Recommended additional reading:
You may also like to read:
- Passport rules for travelling after Brexit
- Package travel after Brexit
- Healthcare for Holidaymakers after Brexit
- Aviation and security after Brexit
- Eurostar travel after Brexit
- Brexit & the law