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Do not fear – the Brexit Q&A is here!

December 23, 2020


Britain leaving the EU

+Will my passport be valid after Brexit?

If you currently have a valid passport, you will be able to continue to travel to Europe until it expires.

From 1st Jan 2021 your passport must be less than 10 years old and have at least 6 months validity left. If not, you’ll need to renew your passport early.

If your passport doesn’t meet the right requirements (i.e. 6 months validity left), you may not be able to enter EU countries. The Government has set up a page that can help travellers understand whether their passport is valid for the country they intend to visit. You can visit that page here.

These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.

+ Will roaming charges change after Brexit?

Since 2017, we’ve been able to use our minutes, data and texts included on our mobile phone tariffs when travelling in the EU (and the same is true for other citizens of the EU). Before the rules officially changed, roaming charges with expensive, with many travellers reporting bills of hundreds or thousands of pounds when using their phones abroad.

After leaving the EU in 2020, we entered a transition period where all EU regulations still applied, including those for roaming charges. This transition period will end on 31st December 2020, and although a number of telecoms providers (EE, Vodafone, Three and O2 included) state that they have no intention to change their approach to roaming charges, a lot will depend on our future relationship with the EU.

We’d always recommend that travellers check their roaming charges policy with their provider before they travel, to avoid any unexpected costs!

+ At the airport, which passport line do I follow after Brexit?

When we were part of the EU, all we had to do at border or passport control was sail through the fast-track EU citizen queue. After 31st December 2020, we will no longer be a member of the European Union (EU) which means we will not have the same freedom of movement around EU countries as we had before.

At the airport, there are two passport queues on arrival. One leads to an ‘EU’ passport holder gate, and another for ‘All Other’ passports. From 1st January 2021, we will have to join the queue and go through the ‘All other’ gate.

+ Will I need a VISA to travel to Europe after Brexit?

If your holiday plans for 2021 and beyond include travelling to Europe for less than 90 days, you won’t need a VISA. However, if you plan on travelling to Europe for more than 90 days in any 180-consecutive day period, you’ll need to get a VISA specific for your type of travel. This will also apply to Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Different rules apply when visiting Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. You can make a 90-day trip to any of these countries and not use up you 90-day allowance for other EU countries.

You can visit the Government’s page for your specific destination country for information on how to get a VISA here.

+ Will Brexit affect your Emergency Assistance service?

Brexit will not affect the emergency assistance service we provide our customers, but we would like to ask you to be mindful of roaming charges when getting in touch, as this could affect your phone bill and cause additional expenditure you may not have accounted for.

+ How will Brexit effect medical treatment costs?

The UK government has now reached an agreement on healthcare when travelling to the EU and have confirmed that an individual’s EHIC card will remain valid until it expires for all countries in the EU except Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

The UK government have also advised that once your EHIC expires, you can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card or GHIC which you can apply for here. Be aware of unofficial websites, which may charge if you apply through them. A GHIC is free of charge.

Please note the EHIC/GHIC will not be accepted in private clinics. Make sure that your travel insurance policy has adequate cover for medical expenses, including repatriation and air ambulance costs, to ensure that they meet your needs. We would also always advise customers to ensure they had declared any and all medical conditions to their travel insurance provider to protect them from having any claim declined.

They have recommended that everyone planning on travelling to Europe after Brexit should purchase adequate travel insurance with medical cover, and stressed the importance of getting the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

We would recommend that anyone looking to travel checks their travel insurance policy cover limits to see if they match their needs and to ensure that you have declared all medical conditions accurately to your travel insurance provider. This will protect you from having to cover any unexpected medical costs yourself, should your travel insurance not cover you due to underinsurance or non-declaration of medical conditions.

+If you’re abroad and do not have your EHIC/GHIC card with you

You are able to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate or PRC which will give you the same cover as an EHIC or GHIC until you return home. The PRC will prove your entitlement to medically necessary healthcare if you are travelling to Europe and forget your GHIC or EHIC. .

You’ll need to apply for a PRC by calling Overseas Healthcare Services at the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999. They are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

If you are unable to call, someone else can apply on your behalf.

If you need it outside the opening hours stated above, you should call as soon as possible the next working day.

When calling for a PRC, you’ll need to give:

*Disclaimer: All information was correct at the time of writing 14/01/2021. This content will be updated as new information is released

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