Now that Brexit is in full swing, UK Travellers can expect to see some changes when deciding to visit or stay in the EU – here’s what you need to know.
How Will Brexit Affect Your Travels To And From The UK?
After 4 years in the making, Brexit has finally come into fruition and as it takes effect, will impact various sectors of the UK and EU including and not limited to import and export regulations, the labour market, the purchasing power of the pound, and of course, travelling. Brits love to travel and for the longest time the purchasing power commanded by the pound made this an endeavour of pleasure and ease. The back and forth between the UK and the EU was also a smooth one, demanding little in the way of unnecessary paperwork or very lengthy queues. But now that Brexit is in full swing, what sort of changes can residents of the UK expect?
Passports & visitation periods
A question on the lips of many a UK resident is, “will I need a new passport?” The answer to this pertinent question is no. In fact, your passport will remain valid if it is less than 10 years old and still has 6 months left before its date of expiration. This 6 month period also ties into the length of your visitation, which can be 90 days out of any 180 period of the year. A visa or permit can however come into play for lengthier stays, work and study, or business travel. It’s also important to note that the 6 month rule won’t apply to those wanting to travel to Ireland, and this is due to Ireland’s affiliation with the Common Travel Area. Expats, especially retirees residing in countries like Spain face a degree of uncertainty thanks to possible changes in their pension structures which in turn can affect quality of life and travel aspirations.
Health insurance, passport control & phone roaming charges
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) has provided an estimated 27 million Brits with health cover in case anything should befall them on their stay or travels within the EU. All such cards issued prior to the end of 2020 will remain valid up until the expiration date. The UK government has however announced its replacement – the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This new card will function like its predecessor although more intricate details are yet to be released. Gone are the days of using the EU fast-track passport control and customs lanes. Instead, be ready to present your return ticket and possibly the state of your financial affairs in order to justify your stay. When it comes to mobile phone roaming charges, the four key UK operators have claimed to have no plans to bring in new tariffs. However, at this point travellers are advised to check with their mobile providers to see if any additional charges can be incurred.
Driving, pets & duty-free purchases
Driving in Europe will be permitted, but anyone electing to drive their own car will need to have their drivers licence, log book and lawful insurance documents – be sure to contact your broker at least 6 weeks in advance to get the necessary green card. Also, the majority of drivers will not be required to purchase an International Driving Permit. Since January 1, 2021, British pet passports have become invalid and those seeking to travel with their pets will require an animal health certificate from a vet valid for 4 months. Essential vaccinations are also required especially for entry to Malta, Finland, Norway, The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Duty-free shopping remains in place for travellers from the UK with limits on alcohol and tobacco set to increase.
As a final tip for UK citizens that are frequent travellers: It is possible to trade in foreign currencies completely tax free and there are countless guidelines and online resources available on how to trade Forex, which could come in handy when travelling and using foreign currencies.