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The UK left the European Union on January 31st 2020 and entered a transition period. We will now see the rules on travelling to European Union countries change from January 1st 2021.
Since 31st January 2020 the UK has been in a transition period which will end on 31st December 2020. Until the transition period ends, you can still use a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and use the EU/EEA passport gates. Once the transition period ends, you will still be able to travel to most countries in the European Union without a visa and will be able to use your current passport as long as it is less than 10 years old and has at least 6 months left before it needs to be renewed.
It has been confirmed that, with or without a deal, flights will still operate between the UK and the EU. Whilst we don't yet have all of the answers when it comes to Brexit, we will do our very best to keep you updated with all the latest information as it comes through. Here's what we know so far:
Can I still fly to Europe after Brexit?
In a word, yes. You can rest assured that, regardless of the outcome of the government's Brexit negotiations, UK citizens will still be able to fly between the UK and the EU.
Will I need a visa to travel to the EU?
If you’re travelling as a tourist, you will still be able to travel to most countries in the European Union without a visa and will be allowed to stay for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period. The rules for travelling to Bulgaria, Cyprus and Croatia will be different as you will be able to travel to those countries for 90 days but that will not affect your 90-day allowance for the other EU countries.
If you’re planning on travelling for work, to study or to stay for a longer period of time, you may need a visa.
From 2022, there will be a visa-waiver scheme, which UK nationals will have to pay for, in order to visit most European Union countries.
What happens if my holiday is cancelled due to Brexit?
Rest assured, nothing suggests this will happen even in the case of a no-deal Brexit. Flights will still operate, and when you book a package holiday through On the Beach you're protected by the comprehensive Package Travel Regulations, meaning that you’ll be entitled to a full refund or alternative if your holiday can’t be provided. The government has stated that even if we leave the EU without a deal your protections will stay the same if you buy a package holiday from a UK-based business. In other words, you can feel safe booking a package holiday with On the Beach as we are a UK-based business.
Travel expert Simon Calder spoke on ITV's This Morning show about the security of package holidays specifically, and that - by booking elements together rather than separately - if your holiday can't be provided you'll get your money back much more easily: "I would have no hesitation booking a package holiday," Calder said. "The worst that will happen is you will get your money back."
British passport holders will need at least six months left on their passport in order to travel in the EU after Brexit. The six months is counted from your arrival date. As of 1st January 2021, British passport holders will also need their passport to be less than 10 years old when they are due to travel. Please check your passport issue and expiry dates well in advance of your holiday, to ensure you have enough time to renew it before you travel. You can renew your passport online or by going to a Post Office with a Check and Send service.
If you aren't sure whether you need to renew your passport, you can find out by clicking here to use the government's online Check a Passport tool.
From 1st January 2021, UK residents will no longer be able to use the EU fast-track lanes at passport control. When arriving in an EU country, you may be asked to show your return ticket and prove that you have enough money to fulfil your stay. This might mean that passing through border control take a little longer than usual.
Health and travel insurance
From 1st January 2021, the EHIC will become the GHIC. This new card with simply replace the old EHIC. If you are travelling after January 1st 2021, your EHIC will continue to be valid, as long as it remains in date. If this expires, then you must apply for the new GHIC. On the Beach advises that customers should always take out travel insurance, alongside the GHIC.
Will I be able to drive in the EU after Brexit?
If you have a full UK driving licence, you're currently still able to drive in the EU. To drive in an EU country you will need to take your driving licence, logbook (V5C) and valid insurance documents. You may also need to apply for an International Driving Permit, which would come with a small fee and a Green Card, in order for your UK car insurance to be applicable in the EU. Your insurer may charge you a small fee for issuing this.
Will I have free mobile data roaming in the EU after Brexit?
Guaranteed free EU roaming will no longer be available to UK citizens from 1st January 2021. Some UK providers may continue to offer the free service to their customers, however it is best to check with your mobile provider to see what their policy and costs will be after the transition period has ended. For customer protection purposes, the government has passed laws that mean that there will be a spending limit on data roaming, capped at £45 per month. Mobile providers will also be required to notify users when they have used 80% and 100% of their data allowance.
Will I still be able to buy duty-free items?
The government have also created a checking tool on their website, where people can fill in their details to find out how they will need to prepare for the transition. You can find the transition tool here.
This is your On the Beach hub for all things Brexit-related and we will continue to keep it updated with all the latest information as it becomes available to us.