The countdown to the end of the Brexit transition period is ticking closer with the UK officially departing the EU on December 31. As UK and EU leaders desperately battle it out to reach a deal, new rules are beginning to be revealed for travellers.
The UK government recently launched a campaign to try and help British travellers navigate the new system of rules and regulations.
New specifications include changes to passports, healthcare, regulations on driving abroad, changes to flight protection policies, travelling with pets and the potential for visas.
When it comes to travel documents, those with holidays in the first half of 2021 may need to start planning now, particularly as the UK passport office battles through a lockdown backlog.
“UK citizens will no longer be able to travel to the countries in question with fewer than six months of validity before expiry on their passport,” warns Nicky.
“Passports will also have to be fewer than 10 years old, even if they have more than six months remaining before their expiry.
“If you try to travel within six months of the expiry date or with a passport that’s more than 10 years old, you might be refused entry to a country on arrival.”
Similarly, rules surrounding the use of driving licenses could be overhauled.
“From January 1 2021, you might need an international driving permit to drive in some countries,” explained Nicky.
“In other words, your UK driver’s licence that you have long been able to use to hire a car in the EU or drive into the continent from the UK may no longer be valid.
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“Plus, if you want to drive your own car, you may also be required to have a green card to be permitted to drive in some countries.”
Those jetting off with furry friends in tow will also have to think ahead.
“Post-Brexit, the existing pet passport will no longer be available to travellers from the UK, and the new process will take much longer — around four months,” said the travel pro.
“So, you’ll need to plan further in advance if you want to take your pet with you to the sun in Spain, or any other EU holiday destination.”
It is likely that post-Brexit travel could also carry some additional expenses which previously might not have been an issue.
One of these means bolstering your usual travel insurance package which could come with an added fee.
“As we always say, travel insurance is one of the first things you should think about before going away,” Nicky pointed out.
“Pre-Brexit, we were all entitled to some healthcare cover with the trusty European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
“When faced with denied boarding, cancellation or long flight delays, we are currently protected by the European regulation EC No 261/2004, or, EU261 as it’s widely known,” The Points Guy UK expert explained.
“The great news is that these consumer rights as a UK traveller won’t be changing in 2021 when we officially leave the EU, meaning you should still be able to claim a refund or compensation on flights to and from Europe.”
However, he added: “It’s not yet clear if that same protection will apply to flights to or from destinations outside of the EU.”
Though there is plenty of promise that the travel industry will return in the future, holidaymakers will now have to think ahead of they want to jet off.
“When the stricter regulations come into force on 1 January 2021, trips to Europe will now require a little more planning time to make sure you have everything in place before you leave the UK,” concluded Nicky.