Travel Warning: What Happens on the First Day After a Hard Brexit?

By Paul Riegler on 27 February 2019
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Although the headlines of a possible Brexit delay only add more uncertainty to Britain’s exit from the European Union, it’s still possible that there will be a hard Brexit.

What will happen to those traveling to and from Britain in such an instance?

Here are seven things that EU citizens, UK citizens, and visitors from abroad need to keep in mind.

Flight Delay Compensation

The Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 is a regulation in EU law establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of flight delays and cancellations.

The U.K. government has said it will keep similar regulations in place per the EU Withdrawal Act that converts such regulations to domestic law.

Passengers traveling to and from the United Kingdom who experience delays will still be able to claim up to €600 ($683) in compensation when airline-occasioned problems result in a delay of more than three hours or a cancellation. The regulations also entitle passengers to meals and hotels, even if the delays are not the airline’s fault.

Roaming Charges

Under current rules, EU mobile operators are not permitted to add roaming charges to calls placed by customers of other EU-based mobile operators.

While this would no longer be applicable to U.K. customers with a hard Brexit, no mobile operator has indicated it plans to reinstate roaming charges.

Travel Visas

Simply put, visa-free travel between Britain and EU countries will end in the event of a hard Brexit.

This means that a €60 ($68.27) visa will be required for Brits to enter the Schengen area and those traveling into the United Kingdom will require a visa as well, although the cost is not yet clear.

Auto Insurance

Currently, a driver of a vehicle registered in the European Union, the European Economic Area, Switzerland, and Serbia who is traveling to the United Kingdom does not need to carry a green card to prove insurance coverage, nor does the driver of a UK-registered auto need one when traveling to the Continent or to Ireland.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, green cards will be required and will typically be valid for 90 days, which may be shorter than the planned visit.

License Plates

A hard Brexit may also witness the return of oval country stickers such as GB (for Great Britain), F (for France), and A (for Austria). GB stickers will be required on vehicles that have license plates with the EU flag and the letters GB. If the license plate only features the GB sign, no sticker is required. U.K. officials will likely require cars from abroad to have oval stickers as well.

Driver’s Licenses

A no-deal Brexit means that the recognition of driver’s licenses from other EU countries in the United Kingdom ends as does the recognition of U.K. licenses in EU countries. The solution is to obtain an International Driving Permit, which is effectively a certified translation of one’s driver’s license. The IDP itself is a United Nations-sanctioned document that has been translated into nine languages and is recognized in over 100 countries. Numerous countries including Austria and Hungary require certified translations and having the IDP meets this requirement.

Nothing changes for drivers holding licenses from non-EU countries.

Health Insurance

European Health Insurance Cards will no longer be accepted in the United Kingdom, and the ones held by U.K. subjects will no longer be valid when traveling on or after 29 March to any EU country as well as to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.  The same goes for citizens of those countries traveling to Britain.

As a result, it’s strongly recommended that travelers purchase healthcare travel insurance.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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