How a no-deal Brexit affects travelers
April 12th is the REAL deadline for the House of Commons and the British Prime Minister Theresa May to come to a common point about the Brexit, and it is very likely that, for the 4th time, they will not make it. This leads to a painful situation: a no-deal Brexit. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sent a crystal clear message to London last week: “If the House of Commons does not adopt a stance by that date, no extension, no short-term extension will be possible.” So what happens to travelers intending to go to the UK in case of a no-deal Brexit?
If you are European, after April 12th, traveling to England, Wales, Scotland, North Ireland or Gibraltar will suppose you are entering a foreign territory – a territory with borders. While the financial compromises and citizens rights should not be broken, it’s important to remember that, after all, politicians were not able to craft an exit agreement. Too bad.
In case there had been a deal, nothing would have changed for Europeans going to the UK, or living there, until 2021. Another possibility is that the United Kingdom decides to revoke unilaterally the activation of Article 50 of the European Union Treaty. In other words: that it decides to stop the Brexit.
As it doesn´t seem to be the case, let’s see what will happen mostly to European travelers if the worst-case scenario comes live.
Can I enter the UK after the Brexit?
Irish people, calm down! You’ll continue to be able to enter the UK, to work, study or simply travel, without a visa. So nothing changes for you.
If you are from any of the remaining 27 EU countries, or from Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein, or from Switzerland, you’ll also be able to enter the UK without a visa. Besides, for now, you are still able to work or study there.
However, this is precisely what will change soon, as the British government wants to put an end to free movement. Once this is approved by the British Parliament, you’ll be permitted to enter the UK without a visa for only 3 months.
What documents do I need to enter the UK after the Brexit?
You can use automatic ePassport gates at some airports if your passport has a ‘chip’ on it and you’re 12 or over.
If you’re not a European citizen, you’ll need to show a valid passport.
I am not European. How does the Brexit affect me?
It doesn’t really affect much (at least not for now). If you are from Canada, the U.S., Australia, Japan or Brazil, you’ll keep on having no need of a visa to visit as a tourist for up to 6 months. Check what happens for other nationalities and documents needed at the UK border here.
Can I stay in the UK for more than 3 months after the Brexit?
If you are a European citizen you will need to apply for European temporary leave to remain to stay longer than 3 months. This will follow the approval of the end of free movement. For more information, check here.
If you currently live in the UK, there will be no changes until December 31st, 2020 (in case of a no-deal). After that you and your family will have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK.
Can I bring my pet to the UK?
Sure, since you follow the same complicated rules from before the Brexit – and it doesn’t matter if you are European or not. In other words, nothing changes, which means you can bring your dog, cat or ferret (yes, ferret) if it’s been microchipped, has a pet passport (or an official veterinary certificate) and has been vaccinated against rabies.
Dogs must, additionally, have a tapeworm treatment (details here).
If you’re coming from an “unlisted country”, your pet will also need a blood test.
Remember that not following the rules may lead to having your puppy put into quarantine (which may last up to 4 months!) with all fees and charges on you. Check for more and more details here.
Just for curiosity, if you are in the UK and intend to take your puppy to the EU, get ready for change: your pet may need to have a blood test to prove it’s been vaccinated against rabies.
Can I bring my horse to the UK after the Brexit?
There is change here! The Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) used to import live animals, like equines, and germinal products directly from the EU will be replaced with the UK Health Certificate. If the animals (and you) come from France or Ireland, there are no immediate changes however. Check all the details to bringing or taking your equines here.
What can I bring in hand luggage after the Brexit?
Just the same as before with the usual restrictions. You are allowed to take electronic devices like mobile phone, laptop, tablet, camera, hairdryer (or straightener), travel iron, electric shaver and even e-cigarettes (not allowed in hold luggage). Remember that yes, your devices should be charged if you are requested to switch them on. In case they can’t be turned on, you won’t be allowed to travel with them.
Liquids (including gels and toothpaste) keep being travelers’ pain in the ass. The rules are:
- containers must hold no more than 100ml
- containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm
- contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed
- the bag must not be knotted or tied at the top
- you’re limited to 1 plastic bag per person
- you must show the bag at the airport security point
Exceptions apply to liquids for special dietary requirements, baby food (or milk) and medicaments.
Contrary to what many think, you can take a lighter on board. But only one. It must be inside a plastic bag (like the one used for liquids) and never go on hold luggage (only hand luggage).
Food is not forbidden in hand luggage but it doesn’t do well in x-ray machines. So it’s advisable to take it in hold luggage. Check the whole issue about hand luggage restrictions here.
Can I bring food to the UK after the Brexit?
If you are from the European Union, you still can. The opposite (from the UK to the EU) will change, but if you are traveling to the UK and wish to take fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy or other animal products (eg fish, eggs and honey), no problem with that.
If you are not from the EU, have in mind that meat, dairy and potatoes are forbidden. If you are from Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greeland, you are allowed up to take up to 10kg of these products.
If you are not from the EU and wish to bring fruit and vegetables (except potatoes), you can take up to 2kg and only if they are for personal consumption (not to sell).
Finally, if you are not from the EU and wish to travel with honey and eggs, you can take up to 2kg in total. If you want to enter the UK out of the EU with fish, it shouldn’t weigh more than 20kg. Remember fish must be fresh and gutted, cooked, cured, dried or smoked.