The United Kingdom marches toward its exit from the European Union at an even steadier pace following the December 2019 U.K. election win by Conservatives, led by pro-Brexit Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Corporate travel buyers can prepare now for what lies ahead. Check out what you need to know about how Brexit could affect business travel.
A Brexit deal has been agreed in principle between the U.K. and the EU. Both the U.K. and the EU need to approve and sign any withdrawal agreement. They will then start to negotiate new arrangements and schedule a transition period through the end of 2020. The U.K. could still leave the EU with no deal if the withdrawal agreement is not approved by Dec. 31, 2020.
Air services between the U.K. and EU will continue and be unaffected until Oct. 24, 2020. But there’s a good chance of delays and disruptions, particularly at the U.K.-EU border.
In the event of a “hard Brexit” (the U.K. exits both the single market and the EU customs union without a deal), border control at airports and Eurostar train stations probably would be affected immediately.
Advice for travel managers: Encourage travelers from all countries to allow plenty of time to make it through regulatory processes. Use messaging via BCD Travel’s TripSource® platform to keep travelers informed.
After Brexit, U.K. citizens must renew passports before traveling if, on the day of travel, the passport will be valid for six months or less or was issued more than 9.5 years before. (Check the status of your passport.) Expect passport lines to keep getting longer.
U.K. citizens may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive within the EU. A U.K. traveler who takes a personal or company vehicle across the EU border will need a “green card” from an insurer and a GB sticker on the rear of the vehicle.
Advice for travel managers: Educate U.K. travelers about changes, and encourage them to allow plenty of time to renew or obtain documents. Targeted Traveler Engagement strategies can help with communications.
Health insurance for travelers
Travel insurance costs may increase if the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is discontinued.
Advice for travel managers: Work with human resources colleagues to gauge the impact on company health insurance policies—including travel insurance. Encourage travelers who carry personal health insurance to check how their coverage might change if EHIC goes away.
The current guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will formally end after Brexit. Individual telecom companies will decide how to handle data charges.
Advice for travel managers: Check your telecom contracts for usage policies and ask travelers to check their own contracts to avoid unexpected fees while on business trips.
Keep up with the latest Brexit-related rules and regulations on the U.K. government website.