Although it is not something we like to consider, it is quite likely that Brexit will affect the way we travel. The frustrating part of this is that, still, we can’t confirm how. Considering how there are less than two months to go before the 29th March, we still have very few answers as to what ‘Brexit’ will look like. So, based on the assumptions we have now, what can you expect for your 2019 European holiday plans?
Recently, the EU announced that the UK would receive visa-free travel across the Schengen Area. However, this will only apply to short stays up until 2021. In addition, the new European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme (ETIAS) will also launch in 2021. It is likely that British citizens will need to apply for the scheme. The ETIAS will be similar to the American ESTA system and will be used to pre-screen anyone who could be deemed a public health or security risk. It hasn’t been agreed whether any special arrangements will be made between the EU and UK for travel yet, but if there isn’t, we will be among at least 60 countries who will need to use the ETIAS.
Anyone who has a valid UK passport will be able to use this until it expires, however, it will no longer be classed as an EU travel document. This will mean that UK passport holders won’t be able to use the ‘fast-track’ queues at the airport for EU and EEA citizens. Travellers will also need to be aware that to travel to any EU country they will need at least 6 months left on their passport. Bizarrely, people who have an extended passport (over 10 year’s validity) will no longer be valid in the EU either.
Travelling with your furry friends is likely to be one of the biggest changes after Brexit. The rules prior to Brexit was that any cats, dogs or ferrets could travel to the EU as long as they held a valid pet passport. If it was their first time travelling they would need to be taken to a vet at least 21 days before travel to ensure they had a microchip and appropriate vaccinations. The guidelines for pets are more dependent on whether we leave the EU with no deal. If you are wishing to travel with your pets in 2019 GOV.uk have provided information on all possible scenarios here, but it is also advised to talk to your vet as soon as possible.
European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC)
Most UK travellers heading to the EU will also pack their EHIC card. These cards do not replace travel insurance but allow for those who have them to receive free or discounted healthcare when they are in an EU country. The good news is that the UK won’t automatically stop receiving these benefits as of the 29th March. Similarly to the ETIAS permit, these changes will happen after the transition period in 2021, so if your cards are still valid – don’t throw them away just yet!
As with all Brexit news, all of the above assumptions are subject to change until a final plan is agreed. The good news is that in the short term, EU holidays won’t be too badly affected – just some small changes which we probably expected!