Preparing for Brexit
Although we still don’t know the outcome of the Brexit discussions in Parliament, at Galloway School Tours we are constantly monitoring all relevant information to ensure you remain up to date with the latest developments affecting travel after 29 March 2019.
Jo Allum, Galloway School Tours’ Manager, answers the questions School Travel Organisers are asking.
Q. How will travel plans be affected by Brexit?
A. We still don't know how Britain will leave the EU - with a deal, or without. If the UK leaves with a deal, there will be a transition period until the end of 2020, during which little will actually change.
If we leave the European Union (EU) without a deal, there are still questions surrounding what happens after Brexit day as the rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change. The government has increased planning for a no deal EU Exit and is asking us all to make sure we are also prepared.
Q. Will we need to obtain a visa to travel to Europe?
A. In either scenario UK travellers won't need a Visa.
Only in 2021, will British people need to apply for and buy another document to travel to EU countries. The ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), will cost €7 (£6.30) and be valid for three years.
EU citizens and UK nationals will continue to be able to travel freely with a passport or identity card until the end of the transition period in 2020.
Q. Should we still use the European Health Insurance Card?
A. The European Health Insurance Card (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 will no longer be valid.
ABTA has always advised holidaymakers to make sure they have appropriate travel insurance, whether they have an EHIC card or not, as there are limitations to EHIC.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance is included as standard on all Galloway School Tour packages. For more information, please click here.
Q. Will our passports be affected?
A. The Government has issued the following advice and we strongly encourage all groups who are travelling this year to Europe to check all student’s passports to ensure they are valid.
After 29 March 2019:
1. There should be six months left from the date of arrival on a UK passport. This applies to adult and child passports.
2. If you renewed a passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the six months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe.
For example, if a UK passport holder wants to travel on 30 March 2019 – the day after the UK is due to leave the EU without a deal - their passport must have been issued on or after 1 October 2009.
The new rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.
Please urge all parents to check their children’s passport is valid for travel quickly and easily by visiting www.gov.uk and if they are affected, we would encourage them to consider renewing the passport earlier than planned.
Travel by British passport holders to all countries that are part of the Schengen area will be affected. They are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Travel to Ireland is subject to separate Common Travel Area arrangements which will be maintained after the UK leaves the EU. For other countries in the EU but not in the Schengen area, you should check the entry requirements for the country you’re travelling to in plenty of time before you book your travel at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Q. Will there be any delays at ports or airports?
A. The government says from 29 March, if there's no deal, most people won't experience any difference to security screening at the airport. The European Commission has proposed measures to avoid there being any extra security or screening of passengers from the UK when they're transferring to onward flights at EU airports.
Ferries are covered by international maritime convention so there won't be any changes. It is the same for Eurostar - you'll still be protected by EU regulation on rail passengers' rights, as that's being brought into UK law.
By booking with Galloway School Tours, you can be safe in the knowledge we will continually monitor the situation at ports and airports and will keep all group organisers informed of any delays as soon as they happen. As part of your package, we have a 24 hour helpline and the back-up of additional vehicles and drivers to ensure your travel plans are kept on track.
Q. Will travel by coach be affected?
A. At the present time, the UK is a member of the Interbus Agreement. If there is a no-deal Brexit, the UK will apply to be an independent member and the UK government is already taking the necessary steps to ensure this happens once we cease to be a member through the EU. In its current form the agreement will provide access for occasional services in the EU by UK operators, so coach holidays and tours would be able to continue.
Q. Will my mobile still work?
A. Under EU rules, the cost of making calls, sending messages or using the internet on your phone in the EU is the same in the UK. If the UK leaves without a deal these rules will no longer apply – however, some UK companies have said they may continue to offer this benefit to their customers. Before you travel, check with your mobile phone provider about the costs of using your phone in the EU.
Q. Should I postpone my group visit to be on the safe side?
A. There is no evidence to suggest delaying a group visit at this time. Taking students out of school to learn in a new environment has proven benefits and we will do all we can to ensure your day excursion or residential to Europe will be the best experience for you and your students.
If you still have any concerns, please contact your Tour Coordinator.