**4th April update from ABTA**

Further to the operational bulletins advising about preparations for the UK leaving the EU, today, Thursday 4 April, the European Parliament has approved legal changes to ensure that UK citizens will not need a visa to travel to the EU for short stays after Brexit – even in the event of a no-deal exit. This follows on from the confirmation shared recently that flights will continue to operate, even in a no deal. This means that two of the most important concerns for UK tourists and business travellers visiting the EU have been addressed and will provide a further boost to confidence about travel to the EU after Brexit.

Brexit: advice for travellers from ABTA

Many people are already booking their travel plans for 2019, and have questions about what might happen after 31 October 2019 when the UK leaves the European Union (EU). The political process is still ongoing and we don't yet know the final outcome, however there have been some reassurances recently around flights and visas and these are reflected in our frequently asked questions. We have also identified actions travellers may wish to take in advance to help avoid unnecessary future disruption in the event of a no-deal scenario.

Should I book my holiday after Brexit or before?

Arena Travel and The River Cruise Line are members of ABTA and are a fully bonded and licensed tour operator with air holidays protected by ATOL, so when you book with us you can have complete peace of mind. Plus, with our price guarantee your holiday will not be sold for less and once booked your holiday price won’t change, so there is no benefit in booking late – the earlier you book the more choice you will have! Customers who book a package holiday with a UK travel company enjoy the most comprehensive consumer protection: if you book a package, your holiday will be protected under the Package Travel Regulations, meaning you have a right to a full refund if your holiday can no longer be provided.

Will I need a new passport?

You should check the date your passport expires. When travelling to the EU after 31 October 2019, the UK government recommends that you have six months left on your passport before it expires. If you need to renew your passport, details can be found online https://www.gov.uk/renew-adult-passport/renew or you can go to a Post Office.

Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?

You shouldn’t need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit. The European Commission announced in November 2018 that, even in a no-deal scenario, UK travellers can still visit the EU without a visa, providing the same is offered to European citizens visiting the UK. The European Commission has said that from 2021, UK citizens will need to pay a fee (of around 7 Euros) for this visa exemption. This is part of a new electronic travel authorisation system applying to all third country visitors to the EU, similar to the US ESTA regime.

Can I still use my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK registered EHICs will no longer be valid. In the event of a deal, then nothing will change until the end of the transition period. Either way, we always recommend taking out holiday insurance, which provides all of the cover you need.

Will flights still operate?

UK citizens can be reassured that regardless of the Brexit outcome planes will still fly between the UK and the EU: if a deal is agreed then we will be in a transition period, meaning everything will stay the same until the end of December 2020 and flights will continue as normal. Even if we are in a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has said that UK airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU. The UK government has offered similar assurances for EU airlines.

Will the cost of using my mobile phone abroad go up?

Under EU rules, the cost of making calls, sending messages or using the internet on your phone in the EU is the same in the UK. If the UK leaves without a deal these rules will no longer apply – however, some UK companies have said they may continue to offer this benefit to their customers. Before you travel, check with your mobile phone provider about the costs of using your phone in the EU.Further advice about Brexit and travel can also be found on ABTA’s website on https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/brexit-advice-for-travellers.