What will happen after 29 March 2019?

Many of us are wondering what will happen after 29 March 2019. The political process is ongoing and the final outcome is still unknown. However, there have recently been some reassurances with reference to travel from the UK to the EU.

Visa – Will this be a requirement in the future?

The European Commission announced in November 2018 that, even in a no-deal scenario, UK travellers can still visit the EU without a visa, providing the same is offered to European citizens visiting the UK.

The European Commission has said that from 2021, UK citizens will need to pay a small fee (of around 7€) for the visa exemption. This is part of a new electronic travel authorisation system, applying to all third-country visitors to the EU called “the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS)”. Alongside the fee, UK citizens will need to pre-register for the three-year electronic visa waiver.

Passport Conditions

When travelling from the UK to the EU after 29 March 2019, make sure you check your passport’s expiry date in time. The UK government recommends that you have a minimum validity of six months from the date of your arrival.

You should also check when your passport was renewed. If you renewed a 10-year adult passport before it expired, it may be that extra months have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These, however, do not count towards the 6 months that must be remaining. The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these new rules.

European Health Insurance Card & Travel Insurance

As we know to date, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when travelling within the EU. The UK and the EU have reached agreement in principle that there should be a transition period between 29 March 2019 and 31 December 2020 to allow more time for negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship. During the transition, you’ll still be able to use your card with the same rights as now.

When going abroad, regardless of the country, it is important you take out travel insurance and check that it covers your current circumstances, including any medical conditions. Also, if you have an annual policy, it is important you check the terms and conditions, and contact your insurance provider if you’re not sure.

P&H always advise holidaymakers and business travellers to make sure they have valid travel insurance, whether in possession of an EHIC card or not, as there are restrictions on the coverage.

UK Driving Licence

As long as you have a full UK driving licence, you currently don’t need an additional licence to drive in the EU. However, this is likely to change in a no-deal scenario. UK travellers looking to drive in the EU, on or after 29 March 2019, may need to apply for an International Driving Permit.

The cost of this permit is £5.50 and can be applied for from the AA, the RAC or the Post Office. The UK Government is working to extend the network of Post Offices where you can apply for an International Driving Permit and has plans to roll these out in more branches across the UK from 1 February 2019.

Vehicle Insurance

If the UK leaves without a deal, UK citizens driving their vehicle, on or after 29 March 2019, are required to obtain and carry a physical Green Card, as proof of third-party motor insurance cover when driving in the EU, EEA, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland. These cards would be issued by your insurer and may cost a small fee to cover administrative expenses. Make sure you contact your Insurance Company to stay up to date.

Travelling with Pets

In the event of a no deal, although pets can continue to travel from the UK to the EU, the requirements for documents and health checks will change. If you are looking to take your pet to the EU on or after 29 March 2019, you will need to organise your pet’s trip with an Official Veterinarian, and this at least four months prior to the travel date.

More information and further instructions on the above subjects can be found on GOV.UK.

Quite a few doubts have been cleared in the last few months. However, the negotiations are far from final. Our aim is to keep you up to date with the legal consequences of Brexit, and our experts will keep you informed on any future changes which may have an impact on you, so make sure to subscribe.