BREXIT – Deal or No Deal What Does It Mean for Travellers?

08 Feb 2019 by Olga Brighton

Travel Information

As we motor, full throttle towards 29th March 2019, even those who have miraculously escaped BREXIT travel conversations, find themselves wondering just how daily life might be impacted after Britain actually leaves the EU.

Recent weeks have seen heightened concern from people looking to understand just what BREXIT will mean for our precious travel and holiday plans.

Right now, it’s business as usual if you are travelling before until 29th March. If you are booking travel beyond this date, both the UK Government and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) have stated that it’s OK to do so. Their premise is ‘deal or no deal’, flights will still operate between the UK and EU and a visa will not be required for short term travel.

Of course, the fact remains that until we know exactly what is finally agreed, it’s impossible to understand the ultimate impact on our travel, so everything is caveated with ‘ifs and buts’ for now.

We have reviewed the latest advice published by the UK Government and ABTA and provided a round-up of some of the top travel questions on your minds:

Will flights still operate?

Flights still operate

Yes. In a No-Deal situation, the European Commission and UK Government have agreed that UK airlines will still be able to operate between the UK and EU and vice versa. If a Deal is reached, then there will be a transition period, so everything will stay the same and flights will continue as normal until at least 31st December 2020.

Will ferries and cruises still operate?

Ferry and cruise services will still operate as most of the rules are International and not based on EU rules.

Read more: BREXIT Update – Are Your Travel Plans BREXIT-Ready?

Will my passport be valid?

If there is No-Deal, the rules for travel to most EU countries will change after 29th March 2019. You should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival. These rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey. The rule does not apply when travelling to Ireland. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania may have different rules, so check their latest entry requirements on the UK Gov country-specific pages.

Will I need a visa to travel to the EU?

Will I need a visa?

If the UK leaves with a Deal, you don’t need to apply for a visa to travel or work in the EU until at least 31 December 2020. If the UK leaves without a Deal, the rules change after BREXIT. You still won’t need a visa after 29th March 2019 for ‘short stays’ in the Schengen area, or elsewhere in the EU. A short stay is anything up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Check the current entry provisions at the FCO's website when travelling to non-Schengen countries (Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Cyprus).

Will my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) be valid?

An EHIC allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. In the event of a Deal, during the transition period, the status quo will be maintained with regard to EHIC and the right to state medical care in Europe maintained. If it’s a No-Deal Brexit, then UK registered EHICs will no longer be valid.

Should I take out travel insurance?

Take out travel insurance

The best way to protect yourself and your trip against unforeseen mishaps is by making sure you get travel insurance as soon as you pre-book any part of your trip. Choose a policy that suits your requirements and check the terms on any pre-existing medical conditions, especially given the EHIC situation we might face. Please don’t automatically expect to be covered for any Brexit disruption that may occur as this may not be the case as it is a known event. Most insurers are working hard to assess what their position is with regard to Brexit disruption, given that we are so close to the deadline and no clearer on Deal or No Deal. We will bring you more news as we hear.

For more detail keep an eye on Brexit advice for travellers by ABTA.

The contents of this article was based on information available as at 8th Feb 2019 from ABTA and the UK Gov websites.

Read more: Brexit Update: What Does the Future Hold?

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