How Will Brexit Affect Travelling In Europe?

One thing that has been on everyone's mind the last couple of years has been Brexit. The UK government set out a 2-year limit in 2017 for us to leave and we were originally expected to officially leave the EU on March 29th this year. The government voted against the withdrawal agreement three times leading to the deadline for leaving the EU to be extended twice sine the 29th of March and the current deadline is the 31st October 2019. If the government fails to agree on a new withdrawal agreement an act of parliament requires the Prime Minister to apply for yet a further extension.

With this immense uncertainty the UK's travel economy has been thrown into turmoil leading to an extreme amount of confusion regarding travel arrangements, visa's, EHIC cards and all the rules and regulations that surround all those things. HM Passport Office has tried to be as clear and concise as possible regarding all new passport applications. There will be many changes to the way we travel, and the restrictions put on us both before and after we leave the EU and these includes passports, driving abroad, visa restrictions and much more. Be prepared and get organised before the 31st October to beat the last-minute rush.

Will my passport be valid after Brexit?


But there will be many new restrictions on your passport and travel requirements will change. We always recommend having at least 6 months left on your passport before you book any travel. Some countries around the world already require you to have 6 months or more left on your passport but we are not currently sure whether this will or will not be a rule when we leave the EU.

To be on the safe side if you have less than 6 months left on your current passport, we recommend renewing early to avoid any hassle or disappointment if that does come into play. Did you know you can carry over any months left on your old passport onto your new passport? So, you don't need to worry about missing out on time on your passport you can transfer up to 9 months.

Will it take longer to get a passport?


The current average waiting time to receive a new passport is 2-4 weeks, unless you decide to use the urgent services. This wait is likely to increase to peak season figures of 3-7 weeks depending on the demand for the new style passports.

At the beginning of 2019 some people were left confused when applicants were receiving passports with different wording on them. Some stated 'European Union' on the front and others were left with a blank space. Be assured that both styles of passports are still valid and do not affect your travel. In late 2019 HM Passport Office will introduce the new or depending on your age the old-style blue passports, this will be us completely separating from the common burgundy passports of all EU states.

Can I still get a passport quickly if I need to?


If you have already made travel plans or you are planning to travel within the next 4 weeks we strongly recommend using the Urgent Services with two different services to choose from you can decide what will suit you and your needs, before or after Brexit.

1-Day Premium Service

You can use this service if you want to apply for one of the following:

• Renew a standard adult 32-page passport
• Renew an adult 48-page passport
• Name change in a standard adult 32-page or 48-page passport - with marriage or civil partnership certificate
• Renewal for a British national born on or before 2 September 1929
• You cannot use this service if you want to apply for:
• First time adult passport
• First child passport
• Change a standard adult 32-page or 48-page passport
• Replace a lost, stolen or damaged adult passport
• Renew or change a child passport
• Replace a lost, stolen or damaged child passport

1-Week Fast-Track Service

You can use this service if you want to apply for one of the following:

• Renew a standard adult 32-page passport
• Renew an adult 48-page passport
• Name change in a standard adult 32-page or 48-page passport - with marriage or civil partnership certificate
• Change a standard adult 32-page or 48-page passport
• Replace a lost, stolen or damaged adult passport
• First child passport
• Renew or change a child passport
• Replace a lost, stolen or damaged child passport
• Renewal for a British national born on or before 2 September 1929

Do I need a visa to travel to the EU?

As it currently stands you do not need a visa to travel to countries within the EU but after we officially leave the EU, we will most likely be required to obtain a valid visa before travelling to any country within the EU. Many decisions regarding visas and new EU entry requirements still have now been finalised and this may still change so please keep up to date with all current information.

Can I still use my passport if we leave without a deal?

If we leave the EU without a deal you will still be able to use your current passport until it runs out.

For example:

If your current passport doesn't expire until 3rd of December 2023 you will be entitled to travel on your passport until that date.

If the government agree a withdrawal agreement before we leave this might change, please check your passport before you book any travel arrangements.

What is going to change after Brexit?

As we said many aspects of travel are going to change after we leave the EU either with or without a deal and it has never been so important to keep up to date with all these changes.


You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad. And make sure you check the details before you take out any new policy. After Brexit your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card may not be valid. So, it's particularly important you get travel insurance with the right level of cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not.

Travelling by car

You are going to require some extra documents after Brexit. You will need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some countries and you can check if you need one on The Post Office website

If you're taking your own vehicle, you will also need:

• A 'green card' - allow 1 month to get this from your vehicle insurance company
• A GB sticker

Flights, ferries, cruises, Eurostar and Eurotunnel, bus and coach services

After Brexit, the following should be able to run as before:
• Flights
• Ferries and cruises
• The Eurostar and Eurotunnel
• Bus and coach services between the UK and the EU

If you're flying:

• airport security procedures will not change for direct flights to and from the UK
• there should not be delays at airport security if you change flights in EU airports

Bus and coach services to non-EU countries, for example Switzerland or Andorra, may not be able to run. The government is working to make sure these continue with minimal or no disruption. Check back for updates or contact the company you booked with if you've any questions. However you decide to travel, check with the company you're travelling with for any delays or disruption before you leave and allow plenty of time.

Compensation if your travel is disrupted

Due to the uncertainty of Brexit some travel insurance policies only cover certain types of disruption. Check your provider's terms and conditions to make sure you have the cover you need if your travel is cancelled or delayed.

Your consumer rights will not change after Brexit. This means that if your travel is cancelled or delayed you may be able to claim a refund or compensation. Check your booking's terms and conditions to find out more.

Pet travel: allow at least 4 months to arrange

After Brexit you will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead you'll need to follow a different process, which takes 4 months you can find all of the information you need and follow the guidance about Pet Travel to Europe After Brexit.

Border control: you may have to show your return ticket and money

At border control, you may need to:

• Show a return or onward ticket
• Show you have enough money for your stay
• Use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing

Mobile data roaming: free roaming may end

After Brexit, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end. Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get after 31 October 2019.

A new law means that you're protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing.

Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you're abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this.

If your travel company goes out of business

You are protected if you buy a package holiday and the company goes out of business, you get this cover even if it's an EU company and there's no deal, as long as the company targets UK customers. Otherwise, you can claim compensation if you used your credit card. You will continue to be able to claim for payments between £100 and £30,000.

Other Brexit changes

You will also need to declare cash of £10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you take it between the UK and any other country.

If you're a business:

• You may need to make a customs declaration if you take goods with you to sell abroad or use for business
• Find out what else you need to do to prepare your business for Brexit

There's different guidance if you are:

• An EU national and you want to continue living in the UK
• A UK national living in the EU

Regardless of whether we leave the EU with or without a deal you must ensure you are up to date with any and all changes that may occur to your travel plans and make any adjustments if needed. HM Passport Office are expecting the numbers of passport applications to increase dramatically.

Booking and attending an urgent passport appointment can be daunting especially with the uncertainty of Brexit but having all the relevant information can make your application easy and stress free.

If you would like more information see our blog or to book an urgent passport appointment.

Need more information?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 8am-8pm

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