Brexit Blues – How Brexit Will Affect European Travel

When travelling, you never run out of things that can go wrong!

If there is one thing that we have learned in three years on the road, it is that you never run out of things that can go wrong!

We should have been making our way through France towards Spain and Portugal, but we had tenant trouble. And then there is Brexit…

In my previous blog, I looked at the impact of Brexit on travelling with pets. This time,  I look at how Brexit will impact European travel for all British Nationals.

Post Brexit, you will still be able to travel to the EU, but not as easily & not for as long

1. Your Rights to Travel to the EU after Brexit

UK Nationals will still be able to travel to the EU, even after a ‘no deal’ Brexit, but not as easily. The major difficulty for Mark and I will be the restriction on the length of time we can stay in the EU. These are the main considerations;

  1. Visas
    • Provided that the UK reciprocates, the EU has agreed to that UK Nationals can enjoy visa-free travel for short stays (maximum 90 days in every rolling 180-day period).
    • This applies not to individual countries, but to the whole of the Schengen Area.
    • Part days count towards your allowance. Thus, if you enter Schengen at one minute to midnight and leave at one minute past midnight, that will count as two of your 90 days.
    • The clock does not re-set with the calendar year. Your entitlement is 90 days in a rolling 180 day period.
    • Schengen Calculator – This Schengen Calculator will help to work it out.
    • Penalties for overstaying in Schengen are harsh, although the punishment and rigour with which it is enforced depends on the particular country where you are caught. It will also depend on the severity of the offence. It will be more if you overstay for a long period or are caught working or engaging in illegal activities. Penalties can include;
      • Fine – the levy depends on where you were caught and the seriousness of the offence. €700 is the figure often quoted, but it could be much more.
      • Blacklist – a note on your personal record, which will make it difficult for you to re-enter Schengen. (Note that from February 2020 those who have lawfully used their Schengen visas will be treated more favourably.)
      • Ban – you may be banned from entering Schengen for several years – or forever for the worst offenders.
      • Deportation – is always accompanied by another penalty and may result in your passport being stamped with ‘illegal immigrant’. This could affect your ability to enter other non-Schengen countries.
    • A tourist, work or study visa may be available for stays longer than 90 days in some countries. My understanding is that the visa application must be made in your home country to the embassy or consulate of the main country that you intend to visit. This will allow you a longer stay in the country for which you have a visa, but the 90/180 rule applies in the rest of Schengen. How to Apply for a Schengen Visa.
  2. Passports
    • If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the government advice is to make sure that your passport is fewer than ten years old and has at least six months validity left on it for travel to Europe.
    • With a deal, it must still be fewer than ten years old but must have 3 months validity remaining from the date of the end of your trip.
    • Your passport will need to be stamped on entry and exit to monitor the length of time you have spent in the EU.
  3. Border Checks
    • You will need to use the ‘other countries’ lane.
    • You may be asked about the duration and purpose of your stay and demonstrate that you have money to support yourself.
    • Your luggage may be checked by customs and subjected to duty free allowance restrictions.
  4. ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme)
    • From 2021, you may need this new document to travel to Europe.
    • Current cost is approximately €7 and it is valid for 3 years.

2. Driving in Europe in the Event of a No Deal Brexit

If we leave with no deal, you may need an IDP & Green Card

A. International Driving Permit

  • If we leave with no deal, or a deal that doesn’t cover driving licences, you will need an IDP to drive in Europe.
  • These cost £5.50 and can be bought over the counter from many Post Offices.
  • Depending on the length of your visit and the type of UK driving licence you have, some countries have confirmed that UK licence holders will not need an  IDP after Brexit. Short stays in most countries may be exempt, however there are exceptions such as France, Italy, and Croatia, so do check on the Post Office IDP Checker
  • There are three different sorts of IDP depending on which countries you plan to visit, so please check you get the right one(s) – if you drive from one IDP jurisdiction to another, you will need both or all three.
    • 1949 IDP (Andorra, Cyprus)
    • 1926 IDP (Lichtenstein)
    • 1968 Convention IDP (Other EU Countries that require an IDP)
  • Click here for government guidance on IDPs.

B. Green Card

  • If we leave without a deal, to drive your own car or a UK-based hire car legally in Europe after Brexit it may be necessary to have a “green card” to prove possession of valid motor insurance.
  • You will need to ask your insurer for the green card.
  • It may take a month or more to get your green card, so apply early.

3. EHIC European Health Insurance Card

  • The EHIC guarantees European citizens entitlement to the same health care as a local when visiting a member state. Note that this is NOT the same health care as you would get in the UK, the local hospitals can be very basic and the treatment may not be free.
  • EHIC has never been a substitute for a comprehensive travel insurance policy, since it does not cover all medical costs or flying you home in case of emergency.
  • Post-Brexit, the validity of the EHIC will depend on the deal struck.
  • If you are already abroad on 1st January 2021, the EHIC remains valid for the duration of your stay.
  • In the event of a no deal, it is unlikely that the EHIC will offer any protection.

4. Roaming/Data Charges

Roaming charges will depend on your provider
  • European law means that currently, you can use your mobile phone in the EU for data and calls at the same price you’d pay in the UK.
  • If there is no deal on mobile charges, European operators will be free to make their own prices for UK mobiles used overseas.
  • Many of the major mobile providers – including EE, O2, Three, Tesco and Vodafone – have said they’ll keep their European mobile prices in line with UK prices, however, to avoid large, unexpected bills, it will pay to check before you travel.

5. Travelling with Pets

Travelling with pets will depend on how the UK is categorised post Brexit

The paperwork and red tape involved in travelling with pets will depend on the type of Brexit and how the UK is categorised by the EU post Brexit. Please check out my blog Pet Travel After Brexit for more details.

In Conclusion

There is no doubt that Brexit will have a huge impact on our travelling lifestyle. The limits to the length of time that we can spend in the Schengen Area (3 months in every 6 month period) will affect our travel planning. The costs and ease of travelling with our four dogs will certainly change for the worse.

However, we strongly believe that there is always a solution.

  1. An Italian tourist visa will enable us to extend our stays beyond 3 months in Italy for the ski season.
  2. We can pop in and out of the Schengen Area so that we don’t overstay our EU welcome.
  3. To avoid the hassle and expense of purchasing four Animal Health Certificates every four months, we are in the process of putting our pups on EU passports.
  4. Our Brexit Busting Plan summarises it all.
  5. For further solutions, including marrying an EU Citizen, check out Our Tour’s excellent blog The Death of the Year Long Motorhome Tour of Europe.



Image credits – Pixabay

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5 thoughts on “Brexit Blues – How Brexit Will Affect European Travel

  1. Hi Jackie, thank you once again for your excellent work. As I sit here this morning in my caravan on a two week UK holiday getting battered by the horrible weather how I yearn to be abroad again! But a little bit of good news this morning regarding Brexit 🤷‍♂️let’s hope so.


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