Will we need a visa to travel to the EU?
The government is seeking visa-free travel for leisure and short-term business trips, but does acknowledge this could include reciprocal use of electronic authorisation systems (ETIAS), as part of efforts to streamline border processes. ETIAS is similar to the US “ESTA” scheme. Prospective British visitors to the EU will be required to complete an online form, generating a permit valid for three years.
There may be some travel disruption, but UK citizens will be able to travel to the EU. We will continue to show our passports on arrival, as we do now as the UK is outside the Schengen Area.
Will EHIC cards still be valid?
European Health Insurance Cards indicate entitlement to public health care on the same basis as local people in EU countries. Before joining the EEC (as it was), the UK already had reciprocal health agreements with many European nations. It is likely that a similar range of deals would be concluded with some or all EU members. If not, medical protection is of course covered by your travel insurance.
What about flights to and from the EU?
If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal, UK and EU licensed airlines lose the automatic right to operate air services between the UK and EU. Thus, airlines would need to seek individual permissions to operate.
The government says it would envisage granting permission to EU airlines to continue to operate and that it would expect EU countries to reciprocate. The European Commission has previously acknowledged that a ‘bare bones’ agreement on air services would be desirable in the event of the UK leaving with ‘no deal’.
Therefore, even if there were some travel disruption to flights, it should be very short lived.
What about coach journeys to the EU?
Coach companies with a Standard International Operator’s Licence and a Community Licence are allowed to carry out “occasional services”, such as school trips, under the Interbus Agreement. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, EU countries may choose to recognise UK-issued operator licences and not require further authorisations - but this cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, the government is planning on joining the Interbus agreement as an independent member, which would mean school trips and holiday routes can run.
[September 26, 2018]