If you’re planning summer travel post Brexit to the UK and other European countries, do keep in mind the ever-changing COVID-19 related travel restrictions. According to a recent survey by Discover Ferries, when the COVID-19 lockdown eases, travelers are most uncertain about travel between EU countries in terms of passports, healthcare, pets, driving and duty-free shopping.
Thanks to CNN Travel, some updated traveler guidance is available regarding UK travel, current COVID-19 restrictions, EU travel and new Brexit.
COVID-19 Makes UK & EU Travel Difficult
For international travelers, myriad COVID-19 related restrictions make travel to any of the European Union countries confusing and challenging. Since February, 2021, France, Germany and Italy have faced new surges in the virus with limited lockdowns. Many other EU countries have restrictions in place.
However, citizens of Great Britain, where a novel and more contagious strain of the coronavirus was detected, are under even more strict travel constraints. If you and your family are returning from holidays or any travel including a stop in Great Britain, check in advance regarding current border regulations.
Since Jan. 18, all travelers entering the UK have been required to quarantine and present negative COVID test results from within 72 hours of arrival. Let’s Get Checked is a company that does COVID-19 testing by mail, producing results within 72 hours; find out more at this discount COVID testing link.
The UK government anticipates that after May 17, 2021, non-essential holiday travel in the UK and abroad may resume. Unless your journey is for a reasonable excuse as defined by the government, travel is subject to fines beginnning at GBP 200 per offense.
Good News for Travel Post Brexit if You Hold a UK Passport
Don’t worry so much about Brexit. All sides want to protect tourism and the free flow of visitors between countries. According to an ABTA study, in 2016, UK outbound tourists spent £25 billion across the EU countries. That buys a lot of goodwill.
UK citizens continue to be able to make a 90-day visit to most EU countries with a 180-day period. UK passports less than 10 years old, with an expiry date at least six months out, continue to be valid for all international travel.
Travel Post Brexit with Pets, Phones and Vehicles
The UK Pet Passport is no longer valid. Pet owners who travel with their animals should apply for an animal health certificate, which must be issued by your vet within 10 days of departure. Check with your veterinarian regarding required shots in the destinations you plan to visit.
Cellular users will have to inquire regarding data roaming charges once they leave home. Past policies which waived fees for mobile use in the UK or EU may not be extended by the individual companies.
Families on road trips will need to have more paperwork as well. If you are renting a vehicle to sightsee or camp in the EU countries, note that an International Driving Permit is required in more than 140 countries. UK citizens renting vehicles will also need a green card issued by auto insurance providers to verify coverage.
Consider travel insurance. While the EU says all European Health Insurance Cards (Ehic) held by UK citizens will remain valid until the expiry date, the British government suggests purchasing travel insurance. Do your homework. Purchase policies with enough lead time so that any pre-existing medical conditions are covered.
Visa Free Travel & the ETIAS Program
In recent years, an estimated 78% of all tourism expenditures by EU citizens was spent within the EU countries. That’s why, nearly two years ago, lawmakers approved a European Commission proposal designed to ensure visa-free travel for EU and UK citizens.
Along with other travel post Brexit rules, the co-called ETIAS visa system will take effect in late 2022 as part of an international treaty between the Schengen Zone countries to safeguard their borders. (Read more about the ETIAS program.)
Tourism and Travel Post Brexit
Next, we are waiting to learn how the vaccine, travel health passports, contact tracing technology and other innovations affect Europe travel.
How will the agonizing economics of 2020 impact the low-cost carriers who have connected UK and EU citizens to the entire world and opened vast new territories to tourism?
And how will this affect visa requirements for travelers from other countries?
Stay tuned. Your comments welcome below.
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