When travelling to the EU after 31 January 2020, 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.
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 January 2020, 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.