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Brexit

This information is correct as of 25 September 2019. For completely up-to-date information, please always speak to an A&K representative about the latest developments.

We are committed to supporting and assisting you throughout every aspect of a holiday that you book with A&K. In the lead up to the UK’s departure from the EU, and given the uncertainty of the outcome currently, we have put together some valuable information about travelling to the EU after the end of October (or a date that is future agreed as part of the Brexit process). If any of your planned travel takes place on or after 31 October we recommend reviewing the information below to avoid any unnecessary disruption in the event of a no-deal departure from the EU.

PASSPORT ELIGIBILITY

When travelling to the EU after 31 October 2019, the UK Government currently recommends that you have six months left on your passport on the date of your arrival in an EU country. This is in line with A&K’s standard advice to always have at least six months validity on your passport, regardless of the destination you are travelling to.

However, 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 six months that must be remaining. The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules.

If your passport does not meet these rules, we advise you to apply for a new passport before any travel.

VISA REQUIREMENTS

You shouldn’t need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit. The European Commission announced that, even in a no-deal scenario, UK travellers can still visit the EU without a visa, providing the same is offered to European citizens visiting the UK.  The European Commission has said that from 2021, UK citizens will need to pay a fee (of around seven Euros) for this visa exemption. This is part of a new electronic travel authorisation system applying to all third country visitors to the EU, similar to the US ESTA regime.

For specific information on entry to a destination, we recommend you check with the UK FCO advice pages here.

TRANSIT VISA POLICY

The EU has agreed an exemption for UK nationals from the requirement to be in possession of a short-stay visa (Schengen-visa) where the intended duration of the stay in the Schengen area is 90 days within a 180-day period, on condition of reciprocity from the UK for EU travellers. 

However, from 31 October 2019, UK nationals who pass through international transit areas of airports situated in the EU27 Member States (with the exception of Ireland) and the Schengen Associated Countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) when travelling between the UK and any other country are advised to apply for an Airport Transit Visa in good time before they travel, as the exemption for transit currently in place will no longer apply. 

Unfortunately there is currently uncertainty as to whether it will be possible to obtain an Airport Transit Visa prior to a no-deal outcome, which could lead to a period of time where UK citizens are unable to obtain these but are unable to transit through an EU airport without checking-out and going back through security. ABTA is currently seeking clarity on this point from the UK Government and European Commission on behalf of the travel industry and we will issue updated guidance on this point once we have further information. If required, Airport Transit Visas should be obtained from the consulate of the country where transit occurs (e.g. Netherlands Consulate for an Airport Transit Visa for connecting flights at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport).

EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD

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.

A&K has always advised anyone booking with us 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 to take out comprehensive travel insurance including adequate health cover based on personal circumstances.

DRIVING IN THE EU

If you have a full UK driving licence, you don’t currently need an additional licence to drive in the EU. This will change in a no-deal scenario. UK travellers looking to drive in the EU on or after 31 October 2019 may need to apply for the relevant International Driving Permit. 

These cost £5.50 and are available directly from the Post Office. You will need to 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. Full details about International Driving Permits, including what permit you need for each country can be found at gov.uk 

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 for UK car insurance to be applicable in the EU. These cards would be issued by insurers possibly with a small fee to cover administration costs. We advise speaking with your insurer for more information on obtaining a Green Card well before any trip which is to take place on or after 31 October 2019.

TRAVELLING BETWEEN THE EU AND UK

In the event of a no-deal exit, there could be disruption at borders when travelling between the EU and UK, at least initially, owing to new entry and exit checks. For example, in a no-deal scenario, UK passport holders travelling outbound might no longer be able to use passport and security queues designated for EEA nationals upon arrival at ports or airports within the EU Member States. There may also be additional entry checks which will verify document validity and security information, purpose of travel and the existence of sufficient means of subsistence. If travelling on or shortly after the 31 October we recommend leaving additional time for check-in and immigration clearance.

DATA ROAMING

Under EU rules, the cost of making calls, sending messages or using the internet on a 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 any travel, check with your mobile phone provider about the costs of using your phone in the EU.

TAKING PETS ABROAD

In the event of a no-deal exit, pets would continue to be able to travel from the UK to the EU, but the requirements for documents and health checks would change. There is a risk that the UK will become an unlisted country for the purposes of the EU Pet Travel Scheme in the event of a no-deal exit, in which case 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 intend to travel. If you wish to take your pet to the EU on or after 31 October 2019 we recommend you review the Government’s current advice, available here, and speak to your vet for further information. Pet owners should also keep an eye out for any further instructions issued by the UK Government.

CANCELLATION OF YOUR HOLIDAY

At present, standard cancellation conditions will apply for any non-forced cancellation of holiday arrangements booked with A&K. As a valued client of A&K, rest assured that the Package Travel Regulations will remain law when the UK leaves the EU. As such, if you have booked a package with us, you have the most comprehensive consumer protection if there is any disruption to your plans. Your holiday is completely protected, giving you the right to a full refund if your holiday can no longer be provided.

If you have any questions regarding your upcoming travel arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact an A&K travel specialist on 01242 547 760. They are ready with insight and support to make your holiday a hassle-free heaven from booking to completion. 

We are on hand to help and look forward to welcoming you on an A&K holiday.