Brexit and Travel

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Advice current at: 11 April 2019

Preamble:
This is intended to be a purely factual guide to the travel implications of Brexit. It is an issue with strongly held views, we have used our best endeavours to stick to a non judgemental FAQ for the likely impact of Brexit on travel. In many areas it is not yet sure what the outcome will be, and for these issues we have said just that, rather than going into all the potential scenarios.


Timetable

Brexit: when is it going to happen?
It was originally scheduled for 23:00 hrs UK time on Friday 29 March, however the House of Commons is expected to approve the EU's offer to extend the date until potentially 31 October 2019. However a range of options could now happen, but until 1 June the UK remains a full member of the EU. It remains the UK government's intention for the UK – including Gibraltar, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Sovereign Bases on Cyprus, to leave the European Union at some point. At this point there is still a lot of uncertainty on timings and outcomes.

What is the current state of play?
To cut an extremely long story short, the UK Parliament has so far been unable to reach agreement on the terms of the UK’s departure. A deal has been agreed between the UK and EU on future relations – notably including a transition period of at least 2 years when very little will change – however so far the UK government has been unsuccessful in getting any deal through Parliament.

When is Brexit day?
When we refer to Brexit Day, we mean the date of the UK's departure from the European Union, which is currently unknown. Realistically it cannot be before 1 June 2019, it could be 31 October, it could be later than that. The government is targeting 22 May 2019 for getting a deal through the Parliament in Westminster, to allow the 1 June date to become Brexit day, however there is considerable uncertainty at the moment.

When will we know more out how Brexit will happen?
Parliament will be in its Easter Recess until 22 April so we are unlikely to hear anything more until then. Thereafter the government and parliament will need to agree a way forward to resolve Brexit.

Will anything happen to travel before Brexit Day?
No, the UK remains a full member of the EU to at least that date, subject to Parliament approving the EU's offer as anticipated.

What happens to travel on Brexit Day itself, and in the days after?
There remains some uncertainty as the detailed questions below indicate. If a deal is reached similar to the one already drafted, then it would appear almost nothing will change on Brexit day, existing processes and procedures will continue for a transition period of at least 2 years. It now seems likely that the UK will only leave the European Union with a deal, so the 2 year transition after Brexit Day seems inevitable, though strictly speaking No Deal, and therefore no transition is theoretically possible.


Air Travel

Will my flight to the EU after Brexit Day still operate?
Not certain, but probably yes. Check this thread later for updates. The EU has offered a 9 to 12 month continuation – with certain conditions and provisos – even if there is no deal but there are a large number of unknown factors.

What about flights to the USA which are currently covered by an EU/USA agreement?
In November 2018 it was announced that a new ‘open skies’ air services arrangement had been agreed with the United States. This will replace the current EU agreement. So these flights will continue regardless of Brexit.

Will UK airlines still have to meet EU associated legislation such as EC261 and GDPR after Brexit?
Yes. Both of those projects are already incorporated under UK legislation and will continue to operate as now. Longer term there could be divergences on some details.

Will airlines have to change their way of working after Brexit?
Not certain. It’s a complex area, involving ownership rules, but check back here later for updates on this one. Several initiatives are currently being resolved here.

What about airline failures such as flybmi – is there a risk that other airlines will go to the wall?
Yes. The larger European legacy airlines (BA, Virgin, IB, AF, KLM, Lufthansa etc) have good resources so it would seem unlikely in the short term. But it is known that a number of other airlines are watching their cashflow, most notably Norwegian, though Brexit is by no means the only factor involved here.


Train (Eurostar)

Where will passport checks happen on the Eurostar?
There will be no change on locations, all parties have agreed to continue existing arrangements. At London St. Pancras, French immigration - on behalf of all Schengen countries - checks passports for entry into mainland Europe. For EU/EEA passport holders this is usually done by e-gates. For other nationalities (with some exceptions) you go to the desk of an officer of DCPAF (the French equivalent of the UK Border Force). The UK Border Force may also do a passport check at St Pancras but often don't. At Paris Gare du Nord when returning to the UK there are again e-gates and DCPAF officers for leaving Schengen; then there is always a UK Border Force check after that, also using e-gates for EU27, EEA and some other nationalities. At Bruxelles Midi/Zuid it's quite similar, however note that you can't proceed through passport control until your train is the next service to depart, so don't arrive too early. On arrival into London or Paris (etc) there are no further checks, though there could theoretically be spot ID checks at either end.

Will there be disruption on Eurostar immediately after Brexit?
Not certain, please check back here later. The potential difficulty relates to the use of e-gates and data sharing agreements.


Ferries

Will my ferry between UK and mainland Europe operate?
Almost certainly yes. Many of the operational treaties date back before the UK joined the EU. There may be some issues at the start to do with relatively minor aspects of operations such as data exchange.

Will there be disruption, cancellations or delays immediately after Brexit Day?
Not certain. Check back here later for clarity on that one.


Movement between countries

Will I be able to travel between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit Day?
Almost certainly yes, since that is protected by the Multi Party and British Irish Agreements, generally known as the Good Friday Agreement. But a lot of specific details remains uncertain.

I am a UK passport holder, will I need a visa for Europe?
Almost certainly not. While this was a potential scenario at one point, it is now difficult to see how that would happen.

To enter Schengen as a non-EU/Schengen citizen, your passport needs to be valid for an extra 90 or 180 days. Will this apply to British citizens after Brexit?
Not certain, but if a visa is not necessary then usually it means a UK passport will need at least 180 days' validity on arrival. However this is now an unlikely requirement.

Britain probably has a similar rule for non-EU citizens. Will this be extended to EU citizens after Brexit?
No. The UK government is not making this requirement, however a very short validity period on a passport may raise questions with Border Force officers.

Non-EU citizens have to fill in a landing card upon arrival to the UK. Will EU citizens have to do this after Brexit?
No, EU27 and EEA citizens will not be required to fill in Landing Cards, which are due to be abolished for all travellers in the future.

How long can I stay for in the EU27/EEA as a UK passport holder?
In Ireland there are no restrictions. In Schengen this remains unclear at this stage.

What about travel to Switzerland, Norway and Iceland?
These countries are not in the EU but are in Schengen, so any changes that come about for the EU on Brexit Day can be read over to these 3 countries.

I am a UK passport holder, what passport queues will I need on the mainland? The one for European citizens?
If there is a No Deal outcome, which is now unlikely, then UK citizens would be using the "non EU citizens" line, but check back here for updates. At many Schengen airports UK and Irish citizens constitute the bulk of processed passengers.

Won’t UK citizens need to apply for an Electronic Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to visit the EU?
Not for the time being, and in any case the EU’s proposed system won’t be rolled out until at least 2021.

I am EU27 / EEA citizen, will I need a visa for the UK?
No, not for short duration tourism and business visits, the UK government has committed not to introduce restrictions.

I am an EU27 citizen – will my passport work in the e-gates after Brexit?
Not certain since it relates to data sharing agreements, but it is likely that you can continue to use e-gates. Check back here later.

What about European ID cards? Can these be used to enter the UK?
Almost certainly yes. The UK government has not indicated any change in this area, however again there could be issues on data sharing.

I'm a USA (Canadian/Australian etc) citizen - what will change for me on Brexit Day?
Very little from what we know. The existing rules for Schengen on the Mainland, for the UK and Ireland will remain in place for non European visitors. The possible exception will be nationals with UK ties outside Europe such as from Bermuda, where there is considerable lack of clarity at the moment.


Money & Health

Will credit and debit cards still work after Brexit?
Yes. There may be changes to exchange rates around this period, however, and there may be delays in processing times.

What about EHIC cards?
Not certain. EHIC cards provide health insurance protection within the EU and EEA. Non EU reciprocal arrangements (e.g. between UK and Australia) will continue. It will be worth reviewing your travel insurance nearer to Brexit day, to ensure you have proper cover. EHIC is not comprehensive insurance in any case.


Car Hire

What about car hire and driving licences?
Not certain. Check back later on this one, driving regulations for Ireland are also unknown at this stage. It may be sensible to apply for an International Driving Permit from your Post Office if a UK licence holder. Spain, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus have a different IDP (IDP1949) to the rest of the EU, Norway and Switzerland (IDP1968). There is a third IDP (IDP1926) but that's not needed in the EU. You may also need your insurer to provide a Green Card to prove your insurance cover, if driving a non-hire vehicle.


Other issues

Will I get a duty free allowance after Brexit Day between UK and Europe?
Not certain, but it seems unlikely.

Will my mobile/cellular telephone face different roaming charges after Brexit?
Not resolved at the moment, but almost certainly the website of your telephone provider will make this clear as we get nearer to Brexit day.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 9:59 am
  #46  
 
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"British travellers will get a stamp in their passport every time they enter and leave the European Union in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the European commission has confirmed.
The announcement on border checks was revealed days after the British government secured a short extension that shifts the Brexit deadline to 12 April.
In another return to the past, British travellers may be asked by border guards to provide information on the purpose of their visit and means of subsistence during their stay. Luggage would be subject to customs checks."

Whilst I'm not looking forward to having to queue for any longer, I am looking forward to receiving stamps in my passport again!
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Old Mar 25, 19, 11:29 am
  #47  
 
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I am a UK passport holder, will I need a visa for Europe?
Not certain, and this relates to a separate tussle between the Commission and European Parliament on No Deal arrangements. Check back here later
As someone working on this on the EU side, could I just clarify that there isn't a tussle between the Commission and Parliament. It's a specific issue with Spain (therefore EU member states vs Parliament), as they are currently blocking this due to how Gibraltar is legally referenced in the text. If it is not agreed this week at least informally, and if no deal goes ahead on 12th, then there will be no blanket visa-exemption for UK citizens to the Schengen area. In theory this means a visa would be required.

However, I don't expect this blocking to continue and expect that there will be an agreement. It's about 99% certain that there will be a blanket visa exemption for UK citizens travelling to Schengen.

As for ETIAS, from 2021 all non-EU nationals (aside from nationals of Schengen countries not in EU) will have to apply for an ETIAS at a cost of €7. More or less the same as an ESTA.

Also happy to answer or try to get clearer answers for specific legal questions on no-deal contingency plans if needed.
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Old Mar 26, 19, 8:04 am
  #48  
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An US ESTA is $14 or just under €12.50

thats no where near the same as the cost of an EITAS as you claim it’s almost double!
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Old Mar 26, 19, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
An US ESTA is $14 or just under €12.50

thats no where near the same as the cost of an EITAS as you claim it’s almost double!
Sorry, I meant to imply that the concept was the same, not the price.
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Old Mar 29, 19, 4:56 pm
  #50  
 
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How do we feel about heathrow connections on BA in the case of no-deal brexit?

As an AA flyer I'm comfortable with Heathrow generally, but I need to book travel to Sweden for april and may. I can somewhat inconveniently fly Iberia through Madrid (double connection) or switch alliances and fly SAS via Chicago. Is it worth it to avoid any potential UK headache?
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Old Mar 30, 19, 1:59 am
  #51  
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When is your flight ? I would avoid going through UK at least the first month after Brexit, so until 15th May.
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Old Mar 30, 19, 3:42 am
  #52  
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Originally Posted by oopsz View Post
How do we feel about heathrow connections on BA in the case of no-deal brexit?

As an AA flyer I'm comfortable with Heathrow generally, but I need to book travel to Sweden for april and may. I can somewhat inconveniently fly Iberia through Madrid (double connection) or switch alliances and fly SAS via Chicago. Is it worth it to avoid any potential UK headache?

Hi,

International connections will not be a problem (as you will only pass immigration and customs at your destination). There will be a standard security check at LHR flight connections

Regards

TBS
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Old Mar 30, 19, 4:57 am
  #53  
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Originally Posted by oopsz View Post
How do we feel about heathrow connections on BA in the case of no-deal brexit?

As an AA flyer I'm comfortable with Heathrow generally, but I need to book travel to Sweden for april and may. I can somewhat inconveniently fly Iberia through Madrid (double connection) or switch alliances and fly SAS via Chicago. Is it worth it to avoid any potential UK headache?
Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot View Post
Hi,

International connections will not be a problem (as you will only pass immigration and customs at your destination). There will be a standard security check at LHR flight connections

Regards

TBS
TBS gives very sound advice here. I’d emphasise that none of the immigration arrangements for your journey will change - the UK has never been a member of Schengen, Sweden is, and so you’ll present your passport/travel documents at the Swedish border as you would under the current arrangements.

There might arguably be a longer queue for the manned desks if you’re on BA with a consequent high proportion of British CItizens because it’s not yet clear what our arrangements will be, but certainly not enough to consider a complete re-route.
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Old Mar 31, 19, 11:51 am
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Originally Posted by fransknorge View Post
When is your flight ? I would avoid going through UK at least the first month after Brexit, so until 15th May.
I concur with TBS's advice above, but on the issue of timing, and specifically a month after Brexit - would that be 15th May 2019, 2020 or perhaps 2021...?!

(P.S. There is no right answer to this one, not yet at least!)
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Old Mar 31, 19, 10:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Mizter T View Post
(P.S. There is no right answer to this one, not yet at least!)
Does seem like quite a pickle. I was trying to see if any marginally stable plans were going to be made by the UK government/parliament/etc but as it seems like it's still up in the air I booked my April trip on SAS. On a paid business class fare on SAS I will earn 8000 PQMs and 12000 miles on united, vs the 25000 EQMs and 60000 miles I would get on american flying BA. The potential for chaos over the next four weeks isn't high, but it isn't zero, and I'm trading miles and status for certainty.
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Old Apr 2, 19, 7:35 am
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Back to Back after Brexit?

I've got an ex-EU flight to USA coming up in a couple of weeks time, will involve a back to back in AMS. I've done this many times as a citizen of a member state and it's usually one of those brilliant situations of getting off the plane, waiting at the gate, getting back on the same plane. Does anyone have a view on whether or not that sort of back to back will be possible post-Brexit given there's usually only around 25-30 mins between deplaning and boarding again.
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Old Apr 2, 19, 3:04 pm
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Lucanesque View Post
I've got an ex-EU flight to USA coming up in a couple of weeks time, will involve a back to back in AMS. I've done this many times as a citizen of a member state
Firstly, you don't need to be an EU citizen to avail of this, as it is a consequence of the design and layout of AMS.

and it's usually one of those brilliant situations of getting off the plane, waiting at the gate, getting back on the same plane. Does anyone have a view on whether or not that sort of back to back will be possible post-Brexit given there's usually only around 25-30 mins between deplaning and boarding again.
B2B is possible in AMS in this manner because the Netherlands trusts the UK's security screening.

The Netherlands also trusts the security screening of the USA (not a member of the EU/EEA).
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Old Apr 3, 19, 7:34 am
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The EU Council and EU parliament have agreed a proposal on visa free travel for UK citizens post-Brexit, assuming no other agreement on movement of people.

​The Council and the European Parliament have agreed that, following Brexit, UK citizens coming to the Schengen area for a short stay (90 days in any 180 days) should be granted visa free travel.​
Analysis of the proposal by Steve Peers, a professor from the University of Essex and Brexit blogger can be found here.

Summary - visa free travel to allow UK citizens within Schengen and other EU countries for a period of 90 out of 180 days. We will use the "All Other Passport" lanes. We will have to apply for the ETIAS. Doesn't apply to travel to the Republic of Ireland due to the common travel area. Goes into effect immediately if the UK leaves without a deal, or at the end of the transition period with the existing withdrawal agreement (unless the agreed future relationship contains an overriding arrangement).

Nothing too surprising here.
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Old Apr 7, 19, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by oopsz View Post
How do we feel about heathrow connections on BA in the case of no-deal brexit?

As an AA flyer I'm comfortable with Heathrow generally, but I need to book travel to Sweden for april and may. I can somewhat inconveniently fly Iberia through Madrid (double connection) or switch alliances and fly SAS via Chicago. Is it worth it to avoid any potential UK headache?
I'd not use IB on Sweden-USA trips as the connections are very inconvenient.

There is only one daily ARN-MAD flight on IB and it arrives after departure of the last flight to the United States, so you would have to overnight in MAD on your way back to the US. Also, not sure if it matters to you, but ARN-MAD isn't offered as an AA codeshare.

There is only one daily MAD-ARN flight on IB and it departs in the morning. If your flight from the US is delayed, you will probably be rerouted MAD-LHR-ARN on BA/IB, which is bad if the whole idea with flying with IB in the first place was to avoid transiting through the UK. Unlike ARN-MAD, MAD-ARN is offered as an AA codeshare.

IB doesn't operate MAD-GOT but offers IB codeshare on BA via LHR and on VY via BCN. IB codeshare on VY presumably gives you zero AA points, and the LHR option is bad if the whole idea was to avoid the UK.

If you want to stay within Oneworld, try AY instead. The total distance is comparable to the LHR option whereas IB means a long detour. AY offers more Swedish cities than BA.

That said, I don't think that there would be any difficulties with transiting through the UK. Just book whoever has the best schedule or price, AY or BA.
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Old Apr 11, 19, 3:29 am
  #60  
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Particularly for the benefit of those who are subscribed to this thread, following the meeting of the EU27 on 10/11th April 2019 where a further extension to the UK's departure from the EU was agreed, the advice in the wiki has been revised and updated.

Members may wish to take particular note of an evolving view around the need for visas for UK Citizens travelling to the EU27 as 'No Deal' becomes significantly less likely.

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