News Brexit: Travelling to the EU with a UK passport

All articles

Brexit: Travelling to the EU with a UK passport

The UK is leaving the EU which means there could be some important changes coming for UK citizens travelling to Europe. Here’s a quick traveller check-list, but please read on for more detailed information.

Have you checked your passport?

The FCO advise that UK travellers can continue to travel to the EU after 31st of January exactly as they do now until at least the end of December 2020. Before travelling, make sure you check your passport is still valid.

According to gov.uk, it can take around 3 weeks to get a new passport, but it could take longer at busy times or if they need more information from you. If you need a new passport urgently, remember there are various fast-track options available, but they are more expensive.

Check out the latest guidance on this gov.uk page.

Will flights to and from the UK be affected?

After Brexit, flights are expected to run as normal. This means:

  • Airport security procedures will not change for direct flights to and from the UK
  • There should be no delays at airport security if you change flights in EU airports

However, as always, please check with the company you’re travelling with for any possible delays or disruption before you leave.

For the latest updates and guidance, please check gov.uk.

Are there any changes to passenger rights?

The UK Government has guaranteed that for passengers flying out of the UK, there will be no change. EU passenger rights will remain the same as they’ll be carried over into UK law straight after our exit from the EU.

This means:

  • Travellers who are not allowed to board, are delayed, or face cancellations are still given the same assistance and compensation that they would be today – the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has more information on this
  • Travellers with mobility issues will still be given the same assistance from airports and airlines that they are given today
  • If a travel provider becomes insolvent, UK consumer protection laws would still apply – the CAA has more on this too

Will you need a new driving licence?

After Brexit, your UK driving licence may not be valid when driving in the EU. In some countries, you’ll need to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP).

An IDP is a special licence that you’d carry along with your normal driving licence, permitting you to drive in the EU. There are different types of IDP, depending on which country you’ll be driving in. If you are taking your own vehicle, you will also need a Green Card from your insurer and a GB sticker displayed on your vehicle.

Before travelling or picking up your hire car in the EU, please check the most up to date information on gov.uk and read the terms and conditions of the hire car company you’ve used.

For the latest information and guidance about vehicle insurance including Green Cards, please read this gov.uk page.

Will the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) still be valid?

Your European Health Insurance Card may not be valid after Brexit. You should always make sure that you have appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad. Please check this gov.uk page for more detailed information.

When taking out a travel insurance policy, you should check the following:

  • That you have the right policy for your needs
  • The level of healthcare cover it includes
  • The travel disruption cover it provides
  • The terms and conditions
  • If it covers all destinations and activities

Will mobile phone roaming charges increase?

After Brexit, there will be no guarantees of free mobile roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Please check with your mobile phone operator to know what roaming charges you may be subject to after Brexit.

For the latest information, please check this gov.uk page on mobile roaming.

What about travelling by train?

The rights for UK passengers on both domestic and cross-border rail services will not change when we leave the EU.

Arrangements for cross-border services would depend on agreements that the UK negotiates. Passengers using cross-border services must ensure that their insurance and ticket terms cover possible disruption.

Be sure to check the latest rail guidance on gov.uk.

What about travelling with pets?

After Brexit, the UK would become a third country in the EU Pet Travel Scheme. This means that pets would still be able to travel, but the documents and health checks required will change.

If you want your pet to come with you, you should contact your vet at least 4 months before your trip starts.  

Check this gov.uk page for the latest updates.

Want to know more? Please read the official guidance from the UK Government and always remember to carefully read the terms and conditions of the company you’re travelling with.