One day before the UK leaves the European Union, the government has revealed that British holidaymakers and business travellers to the EU face onerous changes when the transition agreement expires on 31 December.
Many aspects of travel were previously uncertain, but it appears that the government has already made up its mind that, for visitors to the remaining 27 European Union countries, it will be a hard Brexit.
For the remainder of 2020, no rules on travel will change. But once the transition ends, visitors to Europe will face much more red tape and expense than the travel industry had previously hoped.
The new online advice says the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU will end.
Motorists will need a “green card” – a certificate extending their travel insurance to Europe.
“Allow one month to get this from your vehicle insurance company,” says the government.
It was already known that UK passports will be subject to new rules on validity, which means that someone with almost 15 months to run on a British passport could be denied boarding a flight to Europe.
The government has now confirmed that British travellers will need to use “separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing”.
The Pet Passport arrangements will also be scrapped. Travellers who wish to travel with their dog or cat (or ferret) are told: “Contact your vet at least four months before you go.”
A pet owner hoping to travel on New Year’s Day 2021 would need to start planning on 1 August 2020.
Boris Johnson’s administration has also confirmed that Northern Ireland will be treated differently from the rest of the UK in terms of duty-free purchases from the Republic.
While visitors from Great Britain will be able to take duty-free liquor and tobacco home from Ireland, those returning to Northern Ireland will not.
Other aspects of travel after Brexit remain unclear – including whether the UK will continue as part of the European Health Insurance Card scheme, and if motorists will need International Driving Permits.
UK business travellers have been told they will not enjoy any special status from 2021, which will increase bureaucracy and cost.
The government warns: “You’ll need to follow the same rules as the rest of the world when you’re moving goods to EU countries.”
At present businesses can move equipment and samples around the EU freely. But from 2021, they will need to pay £326 for an ATA (”Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission”) carnet.
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