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Brexit and travel: What you need to know

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Brexit, the long-awaited partition of the United Kingdom from the European Union, became official in its final form on 1 January. Although the UK left the EU on Exit Day in early 2020, nothing really happened. Only this month ended the period of transition of movements and many newly achieved conditions of separation were implemented on the ground.

While the essence of the changes will mainly affect Europeans and UK citizens, not North Americans, a group of UK-EU travel experts says there are some minor logistical changes that could affect third-party travelers in their two transit. regions.

What has changed with Brexit becoming final?

As of this month, UK residents no longer have the automatic privilege of living and working freely in the European Union without a visa, and most European immigrants living in England have until July to do so. reveal whether they can stay permanent residents or will have to become citizens.

But what about the travel process between the two areas, which so far have open borders and efficient entry logistics? With travel banned mainly between England and the European Union due to border closures and travel bans accompanied by a new variant of the new coronavirus in the UK, most people will not see these changes up close right away .

What about Americans?

A group of experts from British travel agents, ABTA, says the biggest difference American travelers heading to Europe may notice is a relatively small change: Non-EU residents will now be accompanied by UK-based travelers on the EU passport control line. which the British were previously able to bypass using electronic gates. When travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, this change could result in longer lines at EU entry points.

UK citizens will have to present their passport for verification and this process will take a little longer than before Brexit, says ABTA spokesman Sean Tipton. Travelers leaving the UK and the European Union, regardless of nationality, should see very little change, according to Tipton.

Are visa requirements changing?

Tipton also notes that there will be no noticeable changes upon entry into the UK, which still allows EU travelers to visit for periods shorter than six months without a visa. The European Union is also allowing UK citizens to visit without a visa for now.

Come 2022, non-EU visitors will have to pay a small fee of around $ 8 for a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) pass Similar to a visa, ETIAS is the long-term equivalent of the United States Electronic Travel Authorization System (ESTA), which Europeans are required to enter.

Tipton says there is no indication that any European nation would apply their visas differently and that the pandemic is probably playing a role in this.

The trade deal contains provisions for short-term and leisure-time business trips to last up to 90 days within a six-month period, he says. Many EU economies are highly dependent on visitors to the UK and these countries will do everything they can to make sure that once we get back to more normal pandemic-related travel, travelers to the UK will feel welcome, with the visitation process as direct as possible.

While unlikely, individual European nations could, in theory, enforce their visa requirements for non-EU travelers. The BBC also has reported that a general Brexit expectation is that the threat of new disputes could be a new constant in UK-EU relations.

What should UK or EU related travelers look for?

Outside of possible waiting times and possible visa restrictions, there are some other little-known changes in Brexit finalization that could affect those with EU or UK ties

Mobile phone companies in the UK may once again charge high roaming charges for service in Europe, as they did before England’s EU membership and legislation passed against the practice. But whether they do will be a commercial issue for each individual company, Tipton says. Travelers using UK-based phone plans should check the conditions of their carriers before traveling to Europe, even if they are not UK citizens or residents.

The EU Pet passport, previously available to anyone with access to an EU-certified veterinarian, is also no longer available to Britons, except those living in Northern Ireland, which has been granted some concessions for proximity to Ireland, which is remaining an EU member.

The Pet Passport previously applied for pets registered for life, but UK travelers can no longer benefit from the Pet Passport scheme, Tipton says. UK-based travelers hoping to bring an animal with them to Europe will now be required to obtain the necessary animal health certificates, as are all non-EU travelers. This process sometimes requires pet vaccinations or other treatments that come with a waiting period.

These are just some of the Brexit changes travelers will see, with far more impact on stay and work statuses than causing minor headaches on trips. The result, in general, means that travelers should start thinking of the EU and the UK as the two very separate entities they are now.

The changes are simply another consequence of the UK leaving the EU, “says Tipton, and being treated in the same way as other non-EU visitors.

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