What does Brexit mean for travel?

31 October 2019

The UK is due to leave the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. The political process is still ongoing, and we don't yet know the final outcome, so the potential impacts are difficult to predict with any certainty. However, if you are due to travel after this date to an EU destination, there are some specific things for you to consider to reduce the possible impact that Brexit may have on your travel plans, particularly in the event of a no deal outcome.



Please check the date your passport expires! The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport for travel to Europe. You always need a valid passport to travel and enter those countries you intend to visit. 

When travelling to the EU after 31 January 2020, the UK government recommends that you have six months left on your passport on the date of your arrival to an EU country but the six months remaining cannot include extra months that may have been added to your passport’s expiry date when you last renewed.

If you need to renew your passport, you may wish to do it sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans. Full details on renewing your passport can be found here.


Health care in Europe and travel insurance:

Do not rely solely on your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for health care in Europe!  EHIC allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK registered EHICs may be affected.  We always advise customers to hold appropriate travel insurance, whether they have an EHIC or not, and adequate insurance is a condition of your booking.

If you want to discuss arranging travel insurance with our preferred insurance provider, please get in touch with your Travel Counsellor or if you want some general guidance on travel insurance, try here.

It’s always worth checking that your insurance covers your current circumstances, including any medical conditions. It’s worth reminding yourself of the applicable terms in view of some of the changes that Brexit may cause.


Driving abroad:

In the event of a no deal outcome it is likely that UK travellers looking to drive in the EU on or after 31 January 2020 will need to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP). See what the Government has to say here and here.

This involves completing a form through the Post Office with a passport photo, costing £5.50. Please check carefully which permit is required for each country you intend to drive within, as you may need more than one permit to comply with the law. More information is available here

Also, because travellers no longer benefit from the EU’s automatic third-party motor insurance cover, you will need a Green Card, which insurance firms currently issue free of charge.



We would advise you to consider giving yourself extra travelling time in the event of any disruption caused by the practicalities of a no-deal outcome, for example when travelling through passport control at the airport.   Some useful Government information is available here.

There has been speculation around potential disruption to flights. Even in a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has confirmed that flights to and from the UK will still be able to operate.



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