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Travel Insurance » Blog » Travel Tips » Post Brexit Travel: GHIC cards, roaming charges and Visas

Post Brexit Travel: GHIC cards, roaming charges and Visas

Written by: Russell Wallace | Travel Insurance Expert
Last updated: 30 May 2023 | Created: 25 April 2022

The UK has officially left the EU. From January 1st 2021, many new rules came into play, some of which are important for travel.

64%1 of those we surveyed wish to travel to Europe in 2022. So, we’ve put together a guide to the latest travel updates post-Brexit, including;

  • GHIC
  • Visas / European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS)
  • Mobile-phone roaming charges
  • Pet passports
  • Recognition of British Blue badges

GHIC

UK residents can now apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card, which replaces the EHIC. GHIC is free via the official website. Any website charging a fee or that is not the official website may be a scam.

The new trade agreement ensures the rights of UK residents to access emergency medical care when travelling in the EU.

The GHIC will cover:

  • Chronic or existing illnesses
  • Routine maternity care
  • Emergencies

One key difference is that the GHIC doesn’t provide cover in four countries that used to be covered by the EHIC scheme. Countries no longer covered include:

  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland

Healthcare in Norway and Switzerland, in particular, can be costly. So, it’s essential to ensure you’re covered when travelling to these destinations.

Why Medical Travel Insurance is essential even with the GHIC

The GHIC doesn’t cover all medical treatment abroad, such as repatriation.

Over 20% of ALL holidaymakers have needed to seek medical treatment abroad at some stage. And of course, this likelihood can rise if you have a pre-existing medical condition. So the risks of travelling without comprehensive Travel Insurance are genuine.

According to ‘Which?‘, UK holidaymakers travelling in the EU could face hospital bills of £2,000 for food poisoning or £14,000 for a heart attack if they travel without insurance.

Buying Travel Insurance can also offer you cover for medical emergencies and cancellations related to COVID-19.

Visas / European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS)

Twenty-six countries form The Schengen Area. Many of which are popular European holiday hotspots. British citizens don’t need a visa to enter the Schengen Area. Yet, from May 2023, Travellers from 63 countries will have to apply for travel authorisation.

Brits wishing to travel to the Schengen Area from 2024 will need ETIAS authorisation. The process will be quick and simple, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com. While like a visa, the regimes are different.

How long is the ETIAS valid?

If approved, an ETIAS authorisation will be valid for three years. Or up until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first.

How much does ETIAS authorisation cost?

Travellers will have to pay a fee of €7 online for ETIAS authorisation.

How do you apply?

Travellers applying for an ETIAS will have to:

  • Complete an online form with information about their identity
  • Declare their travel intention
  • Provide background security information
  • Upload a scanned copy of their passport and a digital biometric photo.
  • Pay a fee of €7 online

What happens next?

The applicant will receive a confirmation via email. The document should be carried and presented to border officers. This can be either in digital form or printed when travelling to the Schengen Area.

Can I enter any EU country with the ETIAS authorisation?

You must enter the country you declared first. After you have arrived in the country you declared, you can then pass through into other countries within the Schengen Area.

Mobile roaming charges post Brexit

Since 2017, UK residents enjoyed using data and minutes without roaming charges while holidaying within the EU. However, this changed with the agreement of the trade deal.

The UK’s trade deal with the EU does not say that the ban on extra roaming charges will continue. Both sides actively encourage operators to have “transparent and reasonable rates” for roaming.

To help holidaymakers and travellers, the UK government passed legislation to provide the following safeguards for consumers:

  • A £45-a-month limit on the amount they could be charged for using mobile data abroad before having to opt-in to use further
  • Requirements for customers to be informed when they have reached 80% and 100% of their data allowance
  • Operators also have to take “reasonable steps” to avoid customers being charged for accidental roaming in Northern Ireland.

If you are hoping to travel to any country within the EU, it is advised that you check your mobile phone provider’s roaming charges before departure.

Pet travel to Europe post Brexit

As a nation of pet lovers, it’s understandable that many of us want to take our pets abroad. While you will still be able to take them to countries within the EU, from January 1st 2021, the steps to do so are changing:

You won’t need a pet passport anymore, but you will need an animal health certificate (AHC) instead. You must also make sure your pet meets the following requirements:

  • You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped.
  • Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before being vaccinated.
  • Wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel.
  • Visit your vet to get an AHC for your pet no more than ten days before travelling to the EU.
  • For more information, visit: Gov.uk 

Blue badges post Brexit

In 2020, it was believed that the Government would negotiate the recognition of UK Blue Badges in Europe.

Unfortunately, it’s now 2022 – two years on, and no agreement on the issue has materialised. Therefore, automatic recognition for Britain’s 2.4 million blue badge holders has ceased.

The resistance toward British badges stems from EU local officials and parking wardens. They’re struggling to identify the authenticity of non-EU badges.

Governmental talks continue. But, travellers with disabilities still face uncertainty and inconvenience when travelling to Europe.

Considering a trip to Europe?

If you’re considering a European getaway, you’ll need comprehensive Travel Insurance. At AllClear we believe everyone deserves the opportunity to travel. So, we offer European Travel Insurance that offers cover for all medical conditions to those of all ages.

Get a quote today and see how AllClear, can help you!

Author notes

Written by Lydia Crispin, MA Content Creator at AllClear
Edited by Letitia Smith, M.Sc. Content Manager at AllClear

1 Based on AllClear Annual Survey, January 2022. 2,707 respondents.