With the debacle surrounding Brexit in recent months, it can be tough to keep up with all the changes.
The "will they, won't they" saga has gone back and forth for what seems like forever. At the 11th hour, the government finally struck a deal. Made up of over 1000 pages of legal jargon, the new deal is more than a little confusing.
So how does this new deal affect Brits travelling in the EU after Brexit? More specifically, how will it impact touring caravan travel after Brexit?
Some details of the deal are clear, but there are many grey areas that could leave potential travellers feeling confused. In this article, we have put together a list of advice and tips for those planning a caravan break in Europe after Brexit.
What you need to know: You can still drive and tow vehicles in Europe with a UK driving licence, but you may need extra documentation, including a green card and an IDP.
IDPs: An international driving permit gives you permission to drive in countries where a British licence isn't recognised on its own. However, you only need an IDP in the EU if you hold a paper licence. If you have a photocard driving licence, you don't need to apply for one.
Tip: You can buy an IDP over the counter at most post offices for £5.50.
Image for illustration purposes only
What you need to know: You will need to carry a "green card" as proof of insurance for the vehicle you're driving in the EU. If you're towing a caravan or trailer, you'll require two green cards - one for the towing vehicle and one for the caravan. It's important to note that you need a physical copy of your green card because electronic copies are not accepted.
Tip: You can contact your insurer six weeks in advance of travel and ask they issue you with one. Caravaners should contact the insurer of the car they are going to tow the caravan in Europe with. Make sure you tell them that you are towing a caravan and they should be able to include category “F” on the Green Card to include a trailer. It is the responsibility of the car insurer to provide the Green Card; caravan insurers are not responsible for third party insurance for the caravan while it is being towed. The current advice from the ABI and MIB is that you will require a separate Green Card for your caravan or trailer.
GB stickers post-Brexit
What you need to know: Vehicles registered in the UK must display a GB sticker when travelling in the EU. Ireland is exempt from the rule. Before Brexit, a GB sticker was only mandatory if you didn't have an EU registered vehicle which displayed GB on the licence plate. From January 1st 2021, all UK vehicles must display a GB badge.
Tip: Your GB sticker must be displayed at the rear of the vehicle.
Post-Brexit travel insurance
What you need to know: Even before Brexit, the recommended advice has been to buy travel insurance for any European trip, even if you have an EHIC card. As such, you simply need to search for insurance as you have done before.
Tip: Your existing policy should still be valid but double-check this with your insurance provider to be sure.
Post-Brexit caravan insurance
What you need to know: If you’re a UK driver with a UK-registered vehicle, your existing caravan insurance cover will still apply, but again, for peace of mind, check this with your insurer.
Tip: Most caravan insurance claims relating to accidents are the result of crashing and snaking or times where caravans have become detached from the towing vehicle, so make sure you have comprehensive cover for full protection.
EHIC and health insurance
What you need to know: For now, your EHIC card will remain valid until it expires, but it has been confirmed that EHIC will be replaced by a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). There are no further details on how to obtain this yet.
When travelling in Norway, Brits can receive emergency hospital treatment as long as they show their passport. This is valid for emergencies and pre-existing conditions. Government advice when travelling to Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein is to make sure you have travel insurance with healthcare cover.
Tip: Don't rely solely on an EHIC or GHIC card. You should still purchase travel and health insurance for your trip.
Useful link: Travel health and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
Caravan travel with pets after Brexit
What you need to know: Great news! You can still take Fido on a caravan break in Europe after Brexit, but your current pet passport won't be valid after 1st January 2021.
Instead of a pet passport, you will need an animal health certificate (AHC). An AHC will also be mandatory for travel to Northern Ireland. To qualify for an AHC, your pet must be microchipped and fully vaccinated.
Puppies should be 12 weeks old before the day of vaccination and there will need to be a period of at least 21 days from the first vaccination before you can travel.
Tip: To obtain an AHC before travelling to the EU, contact your vet.
Useful link: Pet Travel to and from Great Britain.
What you need to know: If you're taking your vehicle abroad, you must take your vehicle logbook with you. If you have leased a motorhome or car, you should carry a VE103 to show you have permission to drive it abroad.
Tip: To request a VE103, contact the RAC on 0800 731 3310.
Border controls and passports
What you need to know: Be prepared for border controls to be tighter than usual. You must make sure you have a passport with at least 6 months left on it. Your passport should also be under ten years old.
You must have your green cards for both your towing vehicle and the vehicle being towed with you. You should also have your owner's documentation for both to show you are the registered keeper. As a non-EU citizen, you will now have to use a separate line to EU EEA and Switzerland vehicles.
You may also be required to prove you have enough money for your stay and possibly your return journey ticket.
Tip: Read up on the latest advice by visiting the GOV.UK website before you travel to ensure you have everything you need ahead of time.
Useful link: Visit Europe 1 January 2021
What you need to know: As a tourist, you won’t need a Schengen visa for trips to most countries in the EU. You will be able to stay for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.
Tip: If you are planning to be in a Schengen country for more than 90 days, you must apply for a national visa of that European country.
Useful link: Schengen Visa Information
Travel by ferry and Eurotunnel
What you need to know: You'll need to follow all of the guidelines above before making your journey, including ensuring you have the relevant visas, passport and documents. Note: you could face some delays at ferry terminals and the Eurotunnel, so reading up on the latest guidelines will be essential before you travel.
Tip: Check ahead of time what you need to do to ensure your journey isn't impacted.
What you need to know: If you are involved in a crash in the EU after the 1st January 2021, you’ll need to contact your insurer. From this date, any legal proceedings will have to be brought in the EEA or EU country where the accident occurred.
Tip: Keep your insurance documents to hand when travelling so you can contact your provider as soon as possible.
What you need to know: Roaming charges were scrapped in the EU back in 2017, but the new deal doesn't rule out additional costs for UK customers who are using their mobile phones in these countries. However, the biggest UK operators have said they don't plan to reintroduce roaming charges, so for now, you can still use your data as normal when in the EU.
Tip: This might change in the coming years, so before you travel, check with your mobile phone provider so you're not caught out by unexpected charges.
By simply keeping an eye on official announcements, getting practical Brexit-related tips from our very own news hub, sorting any additional paperwork, you are all set for that well-deserved European getaway. Share your tips, experiences or updates below.
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