Last updated: 08:58 April 9th 2019

With the next Brexit EU deadline scheduled for 31st October, there is a lot of uncertainty for travellers with British passports. We have compiled a quick guide explaining what Brexit could mean for you as a traveller.

No Brexit Deal

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, British passport holders will be considered third-country nationals by countries within the Schengen area after 31st October 2019.

Rules for Passports: No Deal

The rules for travel to most* countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the European Union (EU) with no deal.

After 31st October 2019:

  • You should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival. This applies to adult and child passports. The gov.uk website has a handy tool to check your passport’s validity for travel in a no deal scenario, click here.
  • If you renewed a passport before it expired, up to 9 extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe.
  • We strongly recommend renewing your passport before October to ensure you leave enough time for your new passport application to process.

*Schengen countries which would be affected are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

NOTE: Travel to the Republic of Ireland is subject to separate Common Travel Area arrangements which will remain the same after the UK leaves the EU.

For countries that are in the EU but not in the Schengen area, you’ll need to check the entry requirements for the country you’re travelling to before you travel. These countries are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.

Source: GOV.UK

VISAs: No Deal

You shouldn’t need a VISA to travel to the EU after Brexit. The European Commission proposed 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 fee (of around 7 Euros) for this VISA exemption. This is part of a new electronic authorisation system applying to all third-country visitors to the EU, similar to the US ESTA programme.

Source: ABTA

Driving License: No Deal

As long as you have a full UK driving licence, you don’t currently need an additional licence to drive in the EU. This is likely to change in a no-deal scenario. UK travellers looking to drive in the EU on or after 31st October 2019 may need to apply for the relevant International Driving Permit.

These cost £5.50 and are available directly from the Post Office. The Government has extended the network of Post Offices where you can apply for an International Driving Permit, find your nearest branch here

Check carefully which permit is required for each country you intend to drive within, as you may need more than one permit to comply with the law.

You need to make sure you have your International Driving Permit before you travel from the UK as you will not be able to apply for this when you are in the EU.

Source: ABTA

European Health Insurance Card & Travel Insurance: No Deal

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK registered EHICs will no longer be valid.

ABTA has always advised holidaymakers and business travellers to make sure they have appropriate travel insurance, whether they have an EHIC card or not, as there are limitations to EHIC.

When travelling in the EU and beyond, it is important you take out travel insurance and check that it covers your current circumstances, including any medical conditions. If you have an annual policy, make sure you check the Terms and Conditions and contact your insurance provider if you’re not sure.

Advice on travel insurance can be found here

Source: ABTA

Data Roaming: No Deal

Under EU rules, the cost of making calls, sending messages or using the internet on your phone in the EU is the same in the UK. If the UK leaves without a deal these rules will no longer apply – however, some UK companies have said they may continue to offer this benefit to their customers. Before you travel, check with your mobile phone provider about the costs of using your phone in the EU.

Source: ABTA

Agreed Brexit Deal

If the UK leaves with the current proposed deal, then there will be a transition period until the end of 2020, in which little will actually change. EU citizens and UK nationals will continue to be able to travel freely with a passport or identity card until the end of the transition period in 2020.

Source: BBC

Timeframe Extended

If the decision is taken to extend the timeframe by which the UK has to present a new deal, then your travel will continue as usual until any further decisions are made.

Please note – all information was correct at the time this information was compiled.

We endeavour to update the information on a regular basis, but please be sure to check the latest news and changes as they happen.