Political uncertainty may continue but, in the background, normal life must go on for the British people – and that includes making plans for family holidays. We still do not know how Britain will leave the EU. But with the UK currently due to leave the EU on 12 April, and the default position being to leave without a deal, immigration lawyer Tsige Berhanu looks at how this outcome will affect UK nationals travelling to the EU.
Under the EEA regulations which provide for the free movement of people within the EU, UK nationals and EU nationals have been able to travel within the EU zone with ease. However, if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, free movement of people will come to an abrupt end on the date of exit.
Accordingly, there would be changes to those travelling to EU countries. With that in mind, some handy things to be aware of are outlined below.
Passports and entry
On the date of travel, passports will need to:
- have at least 6 months’ validity
- be less than 10 years old (even if there is 6 months or more validity).
If you need to stay more than 90 days in any 180-day period, you will need a visa.
You may have to show your return ticket and money.
There may be separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing at passport control.
Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may not be valid. Make sure you get travel insurance with the appropriate cover.
You will require extra documents!
If you are taking your vehicle, you will need:
- a free ‘green card’ (you should allow 1 month to get this from your car insurance company)
- a GB sticker for your car
- an International Driving Permit (IDP) – available over the counter in participating Post Offices (each permit costs £5.50).
If you’re hiring a vehicle abroad, you’ll need an IDP.
You should also carry your vehicle registration documents with you when driving abroad.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit you will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. You will need to follow a different process which takes 4 months.
Mobile data roaming
If there is no deal, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming within the EU will end. You should check with your phone operator about any roaming charges that may apply.
With the summer holidays on the horizon and with most of us travelling to a vast array of European holiday destinations, it is advisable to take note of the possible changes as above and take appropriate actions early to avoid getting caught out.