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Brexit – Will this affect your travel plans this year?

After 3 years of negotiation we finally left the EU at the end of last month. Well, sort of, as this year is very much a transition year with little that will affect us immediately. Especially with our travel plans from the UK into EU countries.

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Passports/Visas – No change this year. Your rights and privileges staying the same this year. New blue UK passports will not be issued until stocks of the current burgundy passports has been used. From January 1 2021 UK passport holders will need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) visa waiver, similar to the American ESTA, and will probably cost around £6.00 per person, though valid for several years.  

Driving Licences – No change this year. You still just need your full UK driving licence with you as well as all the other documents as required before we left the EU 

  • your national insurance number
  • your passport as proof of identity
  • proof of vehicle insurance
  • proof of vehicle ownership (V5C certificate)
  • travel insurance documents
  • up to date MOT certificate and vehicle tax

From January 1st 2021 you may also need an IDP (International Driving Permit) in some EU countries and if taking your own car into the EU next year may also need to arrange additional insurance cover and carry a Green Card to prove you have done so.

 

EHIC – No change this year - Your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), formerly E111, still entitles you to free or reduced cost medical treatment in EU countries. However, as the treatment covered varies country – country depending on their own provision, it is always recommended that you have full travel insurance when travelling abroad. Our Government is trying to keep or adopt similar arrangements from January 1st 2021 but no formal agreement has been made so far.

Holiday Protection and Compensation – No change this year. The EU Package Travel Directive, against the failure of holiday operators, is protected under British Law so changes to this are unlikely even in the long term. The compensation levels for delayed or cancelled flights is also part of UK law, so difficult to change, although with the high compensation levels it is thought that British airlines will lobby hard to get these compensation levels reduced.

PetsNo change this year.  Under the EU Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), dogs, cats and ferrets with valid EU pet passports issued in the UK and other EU countries can travel with their owners between EU countries, including the UK. At least 21 days before the pet’s first trip, a vet must ensure the pet has a microchip, give it a rabies vaccination, and issue a pet passport. The procedure for taking pets into the EU from January 1st 2021 is still be arranged.

 

Roaming ChargesNo change this year. From 1st January 2021 UK mobile users will no longer have free roaming charges, although some of the major providers Vodafone, O2 and Three have suggested that they will continue to offer this but the full details are not yet known. The Government has said it may cap automatic data charges for operators that do not continue for free but this does not limit the rate the operators can charge so you may reach the free limit very quickly then have to decide if you stop using your phone or pay for further data.

Duty Free ShoppingNo change this year.  From 1999 we have had the right to bring unlimited amounts of duty paid goods home with us from other EU countries. The Government has said that from 1st January 2021 we will still be able to buy duty free goods when travelling to the EU but has not specified if there will be changes to any allowances or duty paid arrangements.

Working VisasNo change this year. The withdrawl agreement means that working in the EU remains the same this year. There are bound to be changes from 1st January 2021 but thes have not been negotiated as yet.

As for 2021 onwards, watch this space……

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