Last updated: 20th January 2020
After four push backs, Britain is set to leave the EU in just 11 days. On October 28th 2019, EU leaders agreed to extend Brexit until January 31st 2020 after Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, failed to deliver a Withdrawal Agreement. It would appear, however, that the UK has hit a turning point. Boris Johnson’s latest Withdrawal Agreement was passed by The House of Commons by 330 to 231. It will now face The House of Lords, but it is believed a rejection is unlikely.
For some time now, there has been little to no reassurance for holidaymakers who were holding off booking this year’s summer holiday until they knew if we were leaving with or without a deal. Now, it is confirmed that on January 31st 2020 the UK will enter a transition phase until 31st December 2020 and absolutely nothing will change for UK travellers wanting to go to Europe this year, but what happens in 2021 is still uncertain. Previous information provided by the Government regarding passports, EHICs, mobile roaming, taking pets abroad, etc. post-Brexit is no longer applicable.
We’ve pulled together your questions about travelling after Brexit. All information is correct at time of publication and will be amended as updates are released.
What will happen to the EHIC after Brexit?
Despite previous statements, the EHIC will still be valid until 31st December 2020.
The European Health Insurance Card, formally known as the E111, allows UK citizens to receive free or discounted emergency healthcare when travelling in the EU. It has been a safety net for holidaymakers for many years and without it, medical bills will be much higher.
Although the EHIC will be in place, travel insurance is still a necessity for any trip. Holidaymakers will need to make sure they are buying a travel insurance policy that is suitable for their needs. This includes making sure any existing medical conditions are declared. Not declaring conditions could void a policy, and holidaymakers may not have the means to pay medical bills.
Do I need to renew my passport because of Brexit?
All UK passports are valid for travel to the EU until the end of 2020. Previous advice from the Government warned holidaymakers that they would need at least six months of validity ‘left’ from the date they travel on their passport. They were also advised their passport would need to be less than 10 years old. This may be the case from 2021, but for now passing through borders will continue as normal.
Will there be longer queues at border control?
Apparently not. According to the Government, transport will not be affected by Brexit meaning flights will not be grounded. Security processes at airports will not change for passengers travelling to or from the UK, so theoretically there won’t be any additional queues. However, if delays do become an issue passengers should allow plenty of time to pass through check-in and security. Travel insurance will not cover missed flights due to airport queues.
Can I still drive my own car abroad after Brexit?
The rules for driving abroad will not change after January 31st 2020. Anyone driving in the EU, whether it’s their own car or a hired vehicle, will need to hold a full UK driving licence. Despite previous advice from the Government, those looking to drive abroad do not need to apply for an International Driving Permit.
It is important to note, travel insurance will not extend to motor insurance therefore those taking their own vehicle or hiring a car abroad will need to speak to their car insurance company regarding specific cover.
Will I need a visa to travel to the EU?
Holidaymakers will not be required to apply for a visa to visit the EU this year. It is not yet known if a visa will be needed for travel in 2021.
Am I still protected if my travel company goes bust?
It’s not unheard of for travel companies to go into liquidation. Holidaymakers who buy a package holiday that is ATOL-protected will still be entitled to claim back their money if the company goes bust. This includes holidays that have been brought from an EU company that targets the UK market.
Those who have paid for their holiday using a credit card, may be able to claim the cost back from their credit card company if their travel provider goes bust.
If the holiday is not ATOL-protected, and the company goes bust, travel insurance may be able to help. Some policies will include End Supplier Failure cover as standard and others will have the option to add on the cover for an additional cost. This cover will only be valid if the costs of your lost holiday cannot be recuperated from another source i.e. claimed back from the tour operator.
If I am delayed, will I still be entitled to compensation from the airline?
If travel is delayed or cancelled, passengers will still be entitled to compensation under the same circumstances that apply at the moment. This means if the delay is not caused by an extraordinary circumstance (something that is outside of the airlines control i.e. weather, air traffic control strikes) then passengers can claim compensation. More on amounts and eligibility can be found on the Civil Aviation Authority website.
In addition to airline compensation, most travel insurance policies will offer a departure delay benefit. Amounts and eligibility will differ between insurance companies, more on this can be found in our departure delay guide.
Can I still use internet roaming in the EU for free?
Yes. Holidaymakers will still be entitled to free EU roaming until the end of 2020.
What about if I want to take my pet abroad?
The relatively easy process of taking a pet to Europe will continue until the end of December 2020.
*Disclaimer: All information was correct at the time of publication. This content will be updated as new information is released.