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BREXIT

EU’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit plan spells out bad news for British travellers

The European Union on Tuesday published further contingency plans for a "no-deal" Brexit, piling pressure Prime Minister Theresa May by warning that Britons will lose a host of travel rights from recognition of driving licences to lower credit card fees and no mobile roaming charges.

EU's 'no-deal' Brexit plan spells out bad news for British travellers
Photo: AFP
The European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, said that, while it is working hard for a deal, it must prepare for “all outcomes” and “contingency measures in narrowly defined areas” may be needed to protect the EU's interests.
 
If a deal is agreed then the arrangements could still be applied at the end of any agreed transition period – which under the current withdrawal agreement would be January 1st 2021.
 
In one measure, Brussels said it will offer visa-free travel within the bloc to Britons on short trips, but warned this was “entirely conditional on the UK also granting reciprocal and non-discriminatory visa-free travel to EU citizens travelling to the UK”.
 
“UK nationals would be exempt from any visa requirement for visits of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This is entirely conditional on the UK also granting reciprocal and non-discriminatory visa-free travel to EU citizens travelling to the UK.”
 
Frans Timmermans, the vice-president of the European Commission, said: “We will do upon you what you do upon us.”
 
However the Commission notes that “the UK government has already declared its intention not to require a visa from citizens of the EU27 Member States for shorts trips to Britain;
 
The EU says its visa proposal demonstrates its “commitment to putting citizens first in the negotiations with the UK”.
 
The proposal now needs to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.
 
The Commission published a nine-point advice notice to travellers between the UK and EU about what will happen if Britain crashes out without a deal. It spells out the rights Britons coming to the bloc will no longer enjoy if there is no agreement between London and Brussels.
 
British driving licences will no longer be recognised automatically by EU countries, leaving UK drivers to check with each country they travel in whether they will need an extra “international driving permit”, the notice says.
 
At airports, UK nationals will no longer be able to use the priority EU passport queue and will be subject to extra questions about the purpose and length of their visit. 
 
When it comes to health a no-deal would mean Brits would not be able to use the European Health Health cards (EHIC) to access treatments.
 
The warnings of what will happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit echo those already given by the British government earlier this year.
 
READ ALSO:

Photo: AFP

 
They will also see limits reintroduced on the amount of alcohol and tobacco they can bring into the bloc and may have their bags searched by customs officials.
 
EU rules protecting air passengers will no longer apply to British flights and airlines, meaning that travellers on them may no longer be able to claim compensation if their flights are delayed or cancelled.
 
Recently introduced EU rules on mobile data roaming will no longer apply to the UK, allowing mobile phone companies to reimpose extra charges for Britons using their phones abroad.
 
And Britons were warned about rising costs of paying for gods with bank cards.
 
“As of the withdrawal date, transactions between the EU-27 and the United Kingdom will no longer be covered by the EU rules limiting interchange fees,” read the notice.
 
“Provided that merchants are allowed to apply surcharges on consumers for card payments, this may lead to a higher surcharge for card payments.” 
 
And Britons have also been told they will lose the right under current EU law to seek consular assistance from any EU member state if they are travelling outside the EU.
 
“As of the withdrawal date, UK nationals will no longer be able to benefit from this right and EU-27 citizens will no longer be able to turn to UK embassies and consulates to seek consular protection on the basis of EU law,” the notice reads.
 
But there is perhaps one silver lining for British tourists, they will be able to claim back VAT on items purchased within Europe when they leave. 
 
In today's Communication the EU also outlines priority areas where it is likely measures could be necessary should it appear likely that the UK will leave the EU “in a disorderly manner”. 
 
Among these are citizens' rights and businesses, both areas which could be affected by residency and visa-related issues, as well as financial services, air transport, customs, sanitary, the transfer of personal data, and climate policy.
 
The Commission has said that: “Any contingency measures would only be taken in limited areas where they are necessary to protect the vital interests of the EU and where preparedness measures are not currently possible.
 
“They would be temporary in nature, limited in scope, adopted unilaterally by the EU and must remain compatible with EU law.”
 
Various European countries have been stepping up their own preparations for a no-deal Brexit including France and Germany

Member comments

  1. …”.And Britons were warned about rising costs of paying for gods with bank cards.” i had no idea Britons were paying for gods with bank cards. How do I get one of those bank cards? I’ll pay the higher costs.

  2. Before you give up the simplicity (and low cost!) of buying deities with cash…[“And Britons were warned about rising costs of paying for gods with bank cards…”], think about what happens when you can’t make your payments and the EU god-collectors come round.

    Seriously, I just wonder how much of this is push-back on both sides. Talk about messy divorces! Nobody is thinking about the children!

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TRAVEL NEWS

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

People who have more than one citizenship often hold multiple passports, so what does this mean for crossing borders? Here's what you should know.

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

For many readers of The Local, gaining citizenship of the country where they live helps them to feel more settled – but there are also travel benefits, including avoiding the long ‘non EU’ queue when coming back into the Schengen zone.

But this week the problems associated with travelling while holding dual citizenship came to light, leaving many people wondering what they should know when they are entering different countries.

Put simply – which passport should you use? And do you have to carry both with you?

Financial Times journalist Chris Giles tweeted that the UK Border Force “detained” his dual-national daughter while she was travelling from France into the UK with her German passport – and not her British one. 

He went on to say that UK border guards released his daughter. According to Giles, the border staff said she should have had both passports with her “and asked why she was travelling on her German one”.

The rules on dual-nationality have not changed, but now that the UK is not in the EU, there are strict rules on non-Brits who enter the country (and vice-versa) which has made it trickier for travel.

For instance, UK nationals receive a stamp in their passport when entering Schengen member states because they are only allowed to stay up to 90 days within an 180 period (unless they have a visa or residency card).

READ ALSO: Brexit: EU asks border police not to stamp passports of British residents 

People coming from the EU to the UK can generally visit as a tourist for up to six months without a visa – but are not allowed to carry out any work while there.

So which passport should you show?

The first thing to be aware of is there are no specific rules on travelling with more than one passport. 

Travellers can choose to use whichever passport they prefer when going to a country. 

But one thing to note is that it’s worth using the passport that is best suited to your destination when travelling there. Each country has its own set of immigration and visa rules that you’ll need to research closely.

It could be that one passport is better suited for your trip – and you may be able to avoid visa requirements.  

READ ALSO: How powerful is the German passport?

In the case of the UK, many people are still getting to grips with the different rules that apply because it’s not in the EU anymore.

A question submitted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in September 2021 provided some insight into this issue. 

The question from Labour’s Paul Blomfield asked what steps the UK government “is taking to enable dual UK and EU citizens to travel to the UK on an EU member state passport without having to further prove their UK citizenship?”

The Conservatives Kevin Foster said: “Border Force Officers examine all arriving passengers to establish whether they are British citizens, whether they require leave to enter or if they are exempt from immigration control.

“Where the passenger claims to be British, but does not hold any evidence of British citizenship, the officer will conduct all relevant checks to satisfy themselves the passenger is British.

Border control at Hamburg airport.

Border control at Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

“When dual nationals who are eligible to use e-gates travel to the UK, they will enter via the e-gates without being examined by an immigration officer.

“We recommend all dual nationals, including EU citizens, travel on their British passport or with evidence or their British citizenship to minimise any potential delay at the border or when commencing their journey.”

The Local contacted the UK Home Office to ask if there was any official advice. 

A spokesman said: “An individual can present whichever passport they desire to enter the UK, however they will be subject to the entry requirements associated with the nationality of the passport they present.”

They said anyone who is looking for more information should check out guidance on entering the UK and on dual nationality.

In short, if you present a German passport on entry to the UK you will be treated the same as any other German citizen – which can include being quizzed about your reasons for visiting the UK – as border guards have no way of knowing that you are a dual-national. 

Do I have to carry both passports?

There’s no rule requiring you to have both passports, but you won’t get the benefits of a British passport (entry into the UK without questions) if you don’t show it.

Likewise if you are a French-British dual national and you enter France on your UK passport, you will need to use the non-EU queue and may have your passport stamped.

Should I think about anything else?

An important thing to remember is that if you apply for a visa and register your passport details, the same passport has to be used to enter the country. 

It could also make sense to travel with both passports, just in case. 

However, note that some countries – like the US – require that US nationals use a US passport to enter and leave the States even if they are dual nationals. 

In general, it’s best to use the same passport you entered a country with to depart.

The rules and systems are different depending on the country. But many countries require people to show their passport when leaving – and they will either stamp or scan the passport – this is how authorities know that a foreign visitor hasn’t overstayed their time in the country. 

So if your passport is checked as you leave the UK, you should show the one you arrived with, just to ensure there is a record of you arriving and leaving.

However as you enter France/Germany/other EU destination, you can show your EU passport in order to maximise the travel benefits of freedom of movement.

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