As we enter the bright new world of 2021, I have found myself fantasising about when I may be able to take my next holiday to warmer climes. It seems inconceivable that almost a year on from initial ‘lockdown’ we are all starting the New Year without the prospect of a holiday, weekend getaway or even a business trip to a humble conference centre! There is, as always, light at the end of the tunnel.
The final Brexit deadline, not to be outdone by Covid, came and passed at 23:00 on 31st December 2020 – sending UK ports and international travel arrangements into something of a miasma. And whilst travel for most of us will continue to be limited, you are still allowed to travel for essential business purposes. I daresay many individuals and businesses will be planning trips for when the safe movement of people is available.
So, what does a post Brexit world look like for business travellers?
I am planning to book a trip – what should I do?
- Things you may need to do before you go include
- Check your passport
- Get travel insurance that covers your healthcare
- Check you have the right driving documents
- There are more things to do if you’re travelling for business. For example, going to meetings and conferences which can be found at the usual .gov website.
What about the European Health Insurance Card – EHIC?
- EU states will continue to recognise valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) until their expiry.
- A Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) will be brought in to replace the EHIC however this will not be valid for travel to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which were covered under the EHIC.
- Like an EHIC, a GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance
Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?
- If you’re a tourist, you will not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. (Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total)
- You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel. Information on travelling for business can be found at the usual .gov website
- You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021. On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:
- Have at least 6 months left
- Be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)
- If you do not renew your passport, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
- You should check whether your passport is valid for the country you’re visiting here at the relevant government website.
What about insurance implications?
- The scope of insurance cover under most business travel policies will not change as a result of Brexit. However, please note that claims due to travel disruption, such as cancellation costs, re-arrangement costs, or travel delay benefits, which are specifically as a result of Brexit may not be covered as these benefits become applicable only in specific circumstances. This ship has most likely sailed (and will diminish more the year ploughs on) however, if you do have business travellers posted overseas now you should be cognisant of these facts.
- We strongly recommend that anyone travel to the EU post Brexit makes sure they have comprehensive travel insurance that will cover the cost of medical treatment if they fall ill or have an accident while abroad. Neither EHICs nor GHICs will allow for all medical treatments to be given free of charge and will not provide for emergency medical repatriation to the UK, which can run to many thousands of pounds.
Travel insurance is a humble, yet complicated product, and the cover provided is extensive. Generally policy coverage is far greater than just cancellation and will include emergency medical and dental treatment, medical repatriation, compensation for any missed portion of a trip and the costs travelling home. Costs are usually very competitive, starting at just a few hundred pounds and afford a modicum of flexibility to cover Directors, Staff and some Family Members.
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By Dane Turner Dip CII – Broking Manager