Uncertainty reigns as the United Kingdom marches toward its planned exit from the European Union. But travel buyers can prepare for whatever lies ahead: deal, no deal or extension. Check out what you need to know about how Brexit could affect business travel.
Current Brexit status
A Brexit deal has been agreed in principle between the U.K. and the EU. The EU now has extended the Brexit deadline until Jan. 31, 2020. Both the U.K. and the EU need to approve and sign any withdrawal agreement. Here are possible outcomes: a negotiated Brexit on or before Jan. 31; a no-deal Brexit on Jan. 31; another extension into 2020; no Brexit.
Border control related to Brexit
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.
Travel documents after Brexit
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.