6 important ways the new Brexit deal impacts UK holidaymakers

Fresh changes to the new Brexit deal will have different impacts on British travellers wishing to go beyond the United Kingdom in 2021.

Like the longest, most public conscious uncoupling ever, the relationship between the two has changed forever and that means new Brexit rules, changes and more. The UK has now officially left the European Union, but the two will remain good friends. 

British nationals no longer have the right to live and work across the 27 remaining EU member states, there will be big changes for businesses that trade with Europe, but most importantly for us keen travellers, there will be new important measures for anyone visiting our neighbours.

So if you live in the UK and are planning a holiday in the EU, new Brexit rules will outline what documents, checks and balances you need to cover before you arrive. Below we have outlined some of the biggest changes for post-Brexit travel from the UK.

Visas now required for longer stays

While this rule is unlikely to affect any tourists or travellers, with the UK now outside the EU new rules apply to free movement, rights to work and long-term stays. The UK and EU have made an agreement that places British citizens in a spot much like nationals from Australia and the US. Essentially, if a British national wishes to stay in the Schengen zone for longer than 90 days in any 180 day period they will need to apply for a visa to do so. 

This won’t affect you if you are just planning short holidays like an annual summer trip to the Portuguese Algarve region or south of Spain, but if you own a beach house in Greece and want to spend six-months of every year there you might have to go through a full immigration process. In future, each individual country might set its own rules to offer longer-stay visas.

Portugal’s Algarve coastline is a big temptation for EU travel after Brexit

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Passports now need 6 months to travel

Maybe you were unaware, but pre-Brexit you could travel to EU countries right up until your passport expiry date. With the new Brexit deal, British passports holders should now make sure they have at least six months of valid time left to enter the EU zone plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

For EU travel after Brexit, British passports will have a new blue design with ‘European Union’ removed from the cover.

Best carry-on luggage travel

Expect border checks and longer queues at EU airports

Fingers crossed this won’t be the case, but allow extra time while travelling to pass through border checks and customs when travelling between the UK and the EU.

British passport holders will no longer be able to use the EU fast-track passport scanners and customs lanes, creating a much more manual checkpoint when you pass through airports. You should have your return ticket on hand and might be asked to prove you have enough money for your vacation or stay.

British citizens can still access healthcare in the EU

Some good news: healthcare is still available throughout the European Union to all British citizens. But say goodbye to your Ehic card. Apparently, according to the NHS website, this European health insurance card will remain valid until it expires. Part of the new Brexit deal is a replacement card called the Ghic (global health insurance card). It will come in to play soon but details are currently scarce.

Ghic will cover British travellers in EU countries (except Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein), plus in countries with existing reciprocal healthcare arrangements like Australia, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries.

Take note, Ehic and Ghic are not travel insurance. These cards just entitle you to required public healthcare for free or at a reduced cost. 

Free mobile phone data roaming in the EU is due to end

And some bad news: If you have a UK SIM card or mobile plan, when you hop over to continental Europe your mobile packages and phone data roaming might cease to work. Before Brexit, travelling between for example France and England, would be easy with your mobile phone data and roaming working thanks to European Union laws. With the new Brexit rules and the UK leaving the EU however, telephone service providers will no longer be required to provide extended coverage.

This means there is nothing to stop phone companies reintroducing roaming charges, and they are businesses after all. The UK’s four biggest providers – EE, 02, Three and Vodafone – say there is no plan to change this in the short term.

Beautiful Castles in France RS10056_France-Carcassone-DoubleRingOfRamparts-520791969-lpr © Delpixart
Here’s hoping we can roam freely around France

RELATED CONTENT: France: a timeless destination that will never go out of style

Brits can still drive in Europe

More good news for UK driving licence holders who are fans of a road trip. You can still drive across Europe without too much trouble with new Brexit rules. There is a small catch though. You will be required to have extra documents to hire cars and show your licence is valid. Head to your local Post Office to apply for an international driving permit before you fly.

If you plan to take your own car over, call your insurance company for a green card to prove your vehicle is covered. There might be an admin fee, but no charge. Keep it on you to show police or authorities.

Does the new Brexit deal affect your plans for 2021? Where do you plan to travel after Brexit? Let us know in the comments…

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