Brexit Travel Advice

The latest advice from ABTA:

The Brexit extension to 31 October 2019 has provided absolute certainty that all current arrangements for travel will remain as they are today. For example:

  • You will still have access to state medical care in any EU country as long as you have an up to date European Health Insurance Card. ABTA always advises that travellers should also take out travel insurance and make sure it covers any medical conditions or activities they plan to do.
  • Your pet passport will still be valid.
  • If you plan to drive in the EU, you won’t need an International Driving Permit, and if you are taking your own car, you won’t need a Green Card for insurance.
  • You will be able to move through UK ports and airports as usual, using the EU/EEA passport gates.
  • All consumer rights and benefits from EU laws will also remain including airline compensation for cancellation or delays, and the ability to use your mobile phone abroad without additional charges.
If the Government agrees a deal on or before that date, the UK will then enter a transition period and everything will continue to remain the same and you can continue to travel as you do now.

There is still a possibility that the UK could leave the EU at the end of October without a deal. There have been reassurances around flights and visas, these are reflected in our frequently asked questions below.

We have also identified actions travellers may wish to take in advance to help avoid unnecessary future disruption in the event of a no-deal scenario.

Will flights still operate?

UK citizens can be reassured that regardless of the Brexit outcome planes will still fly between the UK and the EU: if a deal is agreed then we will be in a transition period, meaning everything will stay the same until the end of December 2020 and flights will continue as normal. Even if we are in a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has said that UK airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU. The UK government has offered similar assurances for EU airlines.

Will ferries and cruise ships still sail?

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.

Will my coach journey still operate?

Coaches will still be able to travel to and from the EU, and are expected to continue to take passengers to and around EU countries as usual.

Will trains from the UK to the EU still operate?

It is expected that trains from the UK to the EU will continue to operate. Ahead of your journey, check with your travel company to see if there is any additional information you need to be aware of.

Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?

The European Parliament has confirmed that UK travellers won’t need a visa to travel the EU after Brexit, even if the UK leaves without a deal. UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa.

What happens if I book to travel after 12 April 2019 and my holiday cannot go ahead due to Brexit?

There is nothing to suggest that you will not be able to continue with your holiday plans after 12 April. Even in a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has said flights to and from the UK will still be able to operate.

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 the UK law when the UK leaves the EU.

Should I take out travel insurance to cover Brexit?

The best way to protect your holiday is to book a package – it is the travel provider’s responsibility to make sure your holiday is provided and to offer an alternative or refund if it cannot be delivered.

It is important that whenever and wherever you travel that you have adequate travel insurance which covers your specific needs, including any known medical conditions or activities you plan to do. It is also worth checking the detail of the policy around travel disruption including delays or cancellations as policies do vary.

Advice for travellers

This 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. The Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit

Passports

Check the date your passport expires. If we leave the EU without a deal, the UK government recommends that you have six months left on your passport on the date of your arrival in an EU country.

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

You can renew your passport online or by going to a Post Office with a Check and Send service.

You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.

Full details on renewing your passport can be found here.

European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance

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.

ABTA has always advised holidaymakers and business travellers 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 you take out travel insurance and check that it covers your current circumstances, including any medical conditions. If you have an annual policy, make sure you check the Terms and Conditions and contact your insurance provider if you’re not sure.

Advice on travel insurance can be found here.

Driving licences

As long as you have a full UK driving licence, you don’t currently need an additional licence to drive in the EU. This is likely to 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. The Government has extended the network of Post Offices where you can apply for an International Driving Permit, find your nearest branch here.

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.

You need to make sure you have your International Driving Permit before you travel from the UK as you will not be able to apply for this when you are in the EU.

The Government is also advising that you will need a GB sticker for your car.

For more information visit gov.uk/euexit.

Green cards for car insurance

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 in order for your UK car insurance to be applicable in the EU. These cards would be issued by insurers 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 on or after 31 October 2019.

The ABI – the trade body for the insurance industry – recommends you contact your car insurance company at least one month in advance of travelling.

Taking pets abroad

In the event of a no-deal, pets would continue to be able to travel from the UK to the EU, but the requirements for documents and health checks would change. If you wish to take your pet to the EU on or after 31 October 2019 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 wish to travel. Pet owners should keep an eye out for any further instructions issued by the UK Government.

More information is available here.

Data roaming

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


Updated 17 April 2019