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Brexit - Latest Information & Advice

Brexit will never dampen our love for our Channel neighbours!

Updated 31 January 2020

This page is updated regularly due to the ever-changing nature of the subject.

At Belle France we are taking steps to prepare for all outcomes of Brexit. Many of you are worried about how it could affect your travel plans and are uncertain about what you can do to prepare.

Belle France has been crafting authentically French holidays for over 32 years, working with and maintaining a close partnership with our neighbours across the channel.

Whether you agree or disagree with the Brexit decision, all industries across Britain will have to adjust and travel is no exception.

Following the UKs decision to leave the European Union and all subsequent political updates, we've pulled together these FAQs to help answer some questions you may have.


Contents:

  1. How will Brexit affect my holiday?
  2. Passports
  3. Visas
  4. European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) & Travel Insurance
  5. Overseas visitors
  6. Eurostar
  7. Flights & Aviation security
  8. Ferry crossings
  9. Border Controls
  10. Pets
  11. Data Roaming
  12. Package Travel Regulations
  13. Consumer Rights
  14. Other changes 

How does the Brexit decision affect my holiday?

While the UK is no longer a member of the EU, we will still be governed by EU law until 31 December (unless extended). During the Transition Period, British passport holders are still free to travel between the UK and EU, as they were prior to the referendum. From 1 February some small changes will happen at government level but most of us won't notice any differences.

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) says that while some things may change after 31 December 2020 there's no reason to be concerned when booking a holiday.

Current burgundy British passport and post-brexit navy blue passport
Current burgundy British passport and post-brexit navy blue passport

Can I still use my British passport to travel to Europe?

You can continue to use your British passport to travel to Europe. Your passport is a British document, it's not an EU passport, so your passport will stay the same.

However, if your adult passport was issued over 9 years ago, you may be affected. You should use this tool to check your passport is still valid for your trip before booking travel.

Adult and child passports should have at least 6 months remaining from your date of travel. If you renewed your passport early, extra months would have been added to your new passport. These extra months will not count towards this so some passport holders will need to have more than 6 months remaining in order to travel.

You can continue to use the EU/EEA Citizens lane at border passport controls during the Transition Period.

Visas
Visas

Do I now need a travel visa?

The European Parliament has confirmed that UK travellers won’t need a visa to travel the EU after Brexit. UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Is my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card still valid? 

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. EHIC cards will still be valid during the Transition Period but we are unsure how they will be affected once this period expires at the end of the year.

ABTA has always advised holidaymakers and business customers 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 essential 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.

The NHS website provides comprehensive information about healthcare abroad.

Overseas visitors
Overseas visitors

What if I'm travelling to Europe from America, Australia, New Zealand...?

There has been no change to your visa & passport requirements. Your passport must be valid for 3 months beyond your stay and issued within the past 10 years. Visas are not normally required for US, Australian, New Zealand or Canadian nationals dependent upon your length of stay.

Eurostar services should see minimal disruption.
Eurostar services should see minimal disruption.

How will Eurostar be affected?

Eurostar trains from the UK to the EU will continue to operate as normal. We would advise you to check before you travel to see if there is any cancellations, delays or additional information you need to be aware of.

Before you leave for the station, check online for the latest Eurotunnel travel information.

Flights from the UK to the EU should continue as normal but queues may be longer.
Flights from the UK to the EU should continue as normal but queues may be longer.

How will UK to EU flights be affected?

Flights will continue as normal after Brexit. Both the UK and EU want flights to continue without any disruption. There will be no impact to direct flights to non-EU countries.

Before you leave for the airport, check online for the latest travel information and scheduled services from your airline.

Aviation security for passengers

From 31 January 2020, most passengers will not experience any difference in aviation security screening. The UK will continue to apply robust aviation security measures and prioritise passenger safety and security.

The European Commission has proposed measures to avoid extra security screening of passengers from the UK when transferring to onward flights at EU airports.

Ferry crossings
Ferry crossings

Will ferry crossings still sail?

Ferry services and cruises will still sail as the majority of the rules under which they operate are not based on EU rules, but are international.

Border control
Border control

How will border controls be affected when entering EU countries?

After 31 January 2020, the UK will enter the Transition Period until at least 31 December 2020, meaning everything will continue to remain the same during that period and you can continue to travel as you do now. You will continue to be able to travel or work without a visa during this time.

You can continue to use the EU/EEA Citizens lane at border passport controls during the Transition Period.

Taking your pet abroad
Taking your pet abroad

Will I still be able to take my pet abroad?

Pets will still be able continue to travel from the UK to the EU during the Transition Period. After 31 December the requirements for documents and health checks may change.

You must get your dog or cat microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies before it can travel.

Further information can be found on the UK government website.

Data roaming changes will most likely not be reintroduced.
Data roaming changes will most likely not be reintroduced.

Will data roaming charges change?

Currently you can travel in the EU with guaranteed surcharge-free roaming. This means you can use your mobile devices to make calls, send texts and use mobile data services for no more than you would be charged when in the UK.

Roaming will remain surcharge-free post-Transition Period however the amount that EU mobile operators would be able to charge UK operators for providing roaming services would no longer be regulated. This would mean that surcharge-free roaming when you travel to the EU could no longer be guaranteed.

Most UK mobile operators (incl EE, Vodafone, Three and o2) have confirmed that they will not be reintroducing roaming charges.

Package travel Regulations
Package travel Regulations

Package Travel Regulations

Customers who book a package holiday with a UK travel company enjoy the most comprehensive consumer protection: if you book a package, your holiday will be protected under the Package Travel Regulations, meaning you have a right to a full refund if your holiday can no longer be provided.

The UK Government has confirmed that the Package Travel Regulations will remain in UK law when the UK leaves the EU.


Consumer rights

Your consumer rights in regards to travelling will remain largely unchanged.

You will have the same rights under UK law in the event of denied boarding, cancellation or long delay of passenger air, rail, road or sea services. For EU registered passenger transport operators, EU law will continue to apply in respect of journeys to and from the EU.


Other important information

The EU is to thank for many travel laws and regulations that are currently in place in the UK like financial protection for package holidays, cheaper flights to more locations, compensation for delayed flights, caps on mobile roaming charges, access to free healthcare and cleaner beaches. Thankfully, there are safeguards in place that will see many of these regulations transferred into British law once the UK has left the EU.


Further information can be found on the official UK government website or on ABTA's website.

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