Brexit might have become reality, but Brits shouldn’t experience any changes to travel within the EU until the end of the year. Although don’t be surprised if officials, perhaps unwittingly try to usher you into the wrong passport queue.
At midnight on January 31st, the UK entered the so-called “transition period”, during which negotiations on post-Brexit deals are set to take place.
That period lasts until December 31st 2020 unless it is extended on agreement by both Brussels and London.
But until then, British citizens still benefit from freedom of movement within the EU.
So while Brits may no longer be EU citizens they are still treated as such when it comes to travelling in and out of the EU.
That means joining the queue for EU citizens at airports, ports and railway stations.
But don’t be surprised if you run into some difficulty with officials who aren’t aware of the rules.
One British resident of Sweden reported his experience of using his UK passport at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport early on Sunday morning, just over a day after the UK officially left the EU.
He was told he should join the non-EU passport queue and added that the official he spoke to was unaware of the transition period.
At airports, Brits should use the EU passport queue rather than the non-EU or ‘all passports queue’. A press officer at Swedavia, which runs Sweden’s larger airports, confirmed this to The Local.
Travelling after #Brexit? Valid passports can still be used, #EHIC cards will still be valid and the same gates can be used at border checkpoints. Visit https://t.co/uQZIOCYdWj for the latest @ABTAtravel advice pic.twitter.com/lMllwkX5u5
— ABTA (@ABTAtravel) January 23, 2020
While travelling within the EU, there will be no roaming charges on mobile phones and there are also no changes to driving rules (in other words, a British licence is valid in the EU and vice versa, with no requirement for an international driving permit).
As for what happens after December 31st 2020, that seems to depend on what is agreed between London and Brussels during the 11-month transition period.
Although the British government’s website suggests the rules “will” change from January 1st 2021 and that includes which queue Britons are supposed to join.
The government’s advice website for travel after January 1st 2021 reads “Border control: you may have to show your return ticket and money”
“At border control, you may need to show a return or onward ticket, show you have enough money for your stay or use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing”.
Published The Local 04 February 2020