How will Brexit affect British citizens travelling to the EU?

Brexit is going ahead on 31st January. But for many British travellers, there’s still confusion over what this means in terms of travel.

How does it affect holidaymakers? Will there be any changes to travel arrangements going forward?

So far, the following information has been released:

  1. Legal changes and transition

For anyone planning to travel to the EU in 2020, everything will be the same. This is a transition period and EU rules and regulations will still apply to the UK. This also applies to those travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

  1. Visa-free travel

During 2020, British citizens will be able to travel freely as before. This also applies to EU citizens visiting the UK. From next year, UK citizens will have visa-free travel for up to 90 days in any 180 days for tourism. They won’t be able to work or study at that time, though.

When the transition period ends, British travellers will need to apply for a visa waiver through the Etias (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), which will cost €7. This is valid for up to three years and allows for travel within the Schengen area.

  1. Airport procedures and passports

Again, in the transition period, EU freedom of movement will continue. This will mean no additional border checks and travellers can still use the EU/EEA passports gates until 31st December 2020. After this date, it’s still unclear what will happen.

There won’t be any immediate change to those travelling by rail, ferry, coach, or bus, either. The current rules and regulations will continue to apply until the end of the year.

British passports with EU logos will still be valid until they expire and there is no need to change them. However, they still need to be in-date and valid for the whole trip.

  1. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

During the transition period, the EHIC scheme will continue as usual. The scheme entitles holders to medical treatment in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

  1. Mobile phone charges

At the moment, anyone travelling to the EU can use their phone without additional roaming charges, meaning they can use calls, texts, and data as they would in the UK. This will continue during the transition period.

After that, it’s still not clear what the system will be as this will depend on the negotiations over the UK’s future economic relationship with the EU.  However, it’s likely that legislation would be put in place to protect consumers.

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