Over a third (35%) of holiday makers don’t know about changes to passport validity. More than half (57%) don’t know the new rules around EHIC cards.
Britons are now planning a holiday abroad as travel restrictions ease, but many could be caught out by crucial changes to travelling to Europe after Brexit. New research from comparethemarket.com reveals that over a third (37%) of people in the UK plan to travel abroad this year but many are unaware of the changes to passport validity, health cover, pet travel and driving abroad since the UK left the European Union.
Before Brexit, a UK passport only needed to be valid to visit the EU, but the new rules state that passport holders must have at least six months before expiry to be granted entry. Worryingly, more than a third (35%) of passport holders are unaware of these new passport requirements. Of those whose passports are within date, nearly a third (29%) are due to expire in less than a year, while 11% do not know how long they have until their passport expires.
The research reveals that only a quarter (26%) of those who have checked their passport validity, have recently updated or applied to update their passport because of the new requirements. The standard service for passport renewal currently takes around ten weeks and costs £75.50, or £85 if using a paper form. Leaving renewal until the last minute could leave many travellers caught out and unable to travel.
Under the new rules, EHICs (European Health Insurance Cards) are valid until their expiry date, but then individuals must apply for a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). More than half (57%) of UK adults are unaware of this new rule. Moreover, over two-thirds (69%) are unsure when their EHIC expires, which could lead to problems if they fall ill while abroad since these cards cover state healthcare in most EU countries.
Leaving the EU has also changed the requirements for driving abroad; drivers taking their own cars to the continent now need a green card and a GB sticker. Of those who plan to drive abroad this year, 44% have not applied for these items and do not currently meet the requirements to drive overseas, meaning they could be fined.
As a result of Brexit, mobile phone companies are no longer legally bound to offer ‘roam like at home’ fees, meaning that people from the UK could use their phones abroad at no extra cost. Mobile providers now reserve the right to introduce roaming charges, but the majority of networks have made commitments not to. More than three quarters (77%) of people have not checked whether their mobile provider has introduced roaming charges – which could see significant costs rack up if left unchecked for those that travel.
Brexit also means that pet owners can no longer use pet passports issued in the UK to take cats and dogs to an EU country, and will instead need an animal health certificate (AHC) – but half (56%) of pet owners are not aware that these rules have changed.
For more information on the changes because of Brexit, the traffic light system and travel insurance, comparethemarket.com has a travel checklist to make sure travellers are prepared for their trips this year.
Chris King, head of travel insurance, comparethemarket.com said: “For most holidaymakers planning a trip abroad this year, it will be their first since the Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020. With new rules and constantly changing restrictions due to the pandemic- research is key.
“It is sensible to take out travel insurance before going to Europe or further afield to make sure you are covered for medical treatment you may need, since this can be extremely costly. As well as medical cover, travel insurance can cover lost or stolen luggage and cancellation costs should you not be able to go on holiday in some circumstances.
“We also strongly advise holidaymakers to be vigilant. Even though the Government has created a traffic light system, your holiday destination will likely have its own Covid rules and restrictions in place. This could include quarantine, Covid-19 testing, and additional paperwork, so you must check a country’s requirements and whether you are prepared to take on these added checks.
“The most up-to-date information can be found on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) website and there is also a useful passport checker tool.”
Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (traveldailynews.gr, traveldailynews.com and traveldailynews.asia). Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.
She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.