If a deal is approved on or before 31 January 2020, the UK will then enter a transition period and everything will continue to remain the same for travel.
There is still a possibility that the UK could leave the EU at the end of January without a deal. Even in these circumstances, the European Parliament has approved legal changes confirming that UK citizens will not require a visa after a no-deal Brexit for short stays in the EU (of up to 90 days in any 180-day period). Fees for UK citizens to participate in a new electronic travel authorisation system that will apply to all third country visitors to the EU will not be introduced until 2021.
We are also reassured that both the UK Government and the EU have ratified that flights between the UK and the EU will continue to operate as normal in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
We strongly believe therefore that you can continue to book your holiday to Europe after 31 January 2020 with full confidence.
However, there will be a few important changes if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal on 31 January, and the Government has issued information and advice for British Nationals travelling to EU / EEA (European Economic Area) countries thereafter in the event of a ‘no deal’ withdrawal.
If you are travelling, or intend to travel, after 31 January, please take note of the following information about entry requirements, passport validity and EHIC validity in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
If you are hiring a car in Europe, or taking your own vehicle, you should also read the advice below about international driving permits and car insurance green cards.
For further guidance and advice on travelling in Europe after Brexit, visit www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/brexit-advice-for-travellers.
Entry requirements and passports
Currently, UK passport holders can travel to all EU / EEA countries as long as they have enough remaining validity to cover the length of their stay.
However, the passport validity rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change from 31 January 2020 if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. UK passport holders should therefore check their passport to see whether it is valid for travel after 31 January, and renew their passport if it is not valid.
After 31 January 2020, you should have at least 6 months left on your UK passport on the date of your arrival in an EU / EEA country (this includes Norway and Switzerland). This applies to adult and child passports.
If you renewed a passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date. These extra months over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months that must be remaining.
We advise that you should therefore renew your passport if your arrival in an EU country is later than 9 years and 6 months after your passport’s date of issue.
For up-to-date information on entry requirements, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
and enter the name of your destination country. The new rules do not apply when travelling to Ireland, and different rules may apply for Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania.
The Passport Office has created an online tool to check if your passport will be valid. Visit www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-brexit.
Driving in Europe
If there is an EU exit deal, UK driving licence holders will be able to continue to drive in all EU and EEA countries using their UK driving licence.
In the event that there is no EU exit deal, the government will seek to put in place new arrangements for EU and EEA countries to recognise UK driving licences. However, until such arrangements are in place, UK driving licence holders may also need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in EU and EEA countries; each country will decide if they require UK drivers to have an IDP.
There are 3 types of IDP. You may need a new 1968 IDP to drive in most EU and EEA countries. You may need a 1949 IDP to drive in Spain, Cyprus and Malta (so you will need both types if driving through France to Spain). There is also a 1926 IDP, but this is required only in Liechtenstein.
You can purchase an IDP for £5.50 from UK post offices.
For more information, visit www.gov.uk/guidance/international-driving-permits-for-uk-drivers-from-28-march-2019
Car insurance green cards
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens driving their vehicle within the EU will be required to carry a physical Green Card for your UK car insurance to be applicable in the EU. These cards will be issued by your insurers and you may be charged a small administration fee. You should speak with your insurer for more information.
European health insurance card (EHIC)
The EHIC allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when travelling in another EU country. In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, UK registered EHICs may no longer be valid. It is therefore essential that you travel on holiday with adequate travel insurance.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of all necessary valid documents for your holiday. We can only provide general information about this, and we cannot accept liability if you are refused entry on to any transport or into any country because you are not carrying correct documentation.
Last updated on 31 October 2019