Brexit: No changes to EU ferry travel requirements throughout 2020, says Discover Ferries

Industry body Discover Ferries, is seeking to clarify and reassure holiday makers that there will be no change in requirements for people wanting to travel via ferry between the UK and the EU post January 31. This will be the situation for at least the rest of 2020 during the transition period, now the UK government has passed the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

The research, carried out online by Markettiers, indicates widespread confusion about travel to EU countries and even ferry travel within the British Isles.


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Of 2,000 survey respondents, an alarming 68 percent admitted they were not sure what changes will apply for travel to EU countries from February 1.

30 percent said they thought they would need a visa to enter any EU country and almost a fifth (19 percent) thought they would need a passport to travel to Jersey and Guernsey, which are part of the British Isles. Neither of which is true.

There was similar uncertainty over pet travel.

More than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) said they will need to take extra steps to take their pets abroad, while 44 percent fear that their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid.

The effect on consumer confidence was also clear in the results.

Almost a quarter (24 percent) of people have been consciously delaying their 2020 holiday plans until after January 31 this year.

Almost half (46 percent), expressed their desire for more reassurance.

“It is clear that there is a lot of confusion around travel to EU countries this year, resulting in many people delaying their holiday plans,” said Emma Batchelor, director of Discover Ferries.

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“I would therefore like to reassure anyone looking to travel by ferry this year that there are no changes; all valid passports, EHIC cards and pet passports will still be authorised for travel to the EU and there will not be any new requirement for visas to Europe or passports to travel to the British Isles.

“I also encourage the government and the wider travel sector to support the message that nothing changes this year, and that people should book their 2020 summer holiday with confidence,” added Mrs Batchelor.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed the Withdrawal Agreement on Friday, in a historic moment for the UK and EU.

In a statement, Mr Johnson said: “The signing of the Withdrawal Agreement is a fantastic moment, which finally delivers the result of the 2016 referendum and brings to an end far too many years of argument and division.

“We can now move forward as one country – with a government focused upon delivering better public services, greater opportunity and unleashing the potential of every corner of our brilliant United Kingdom, while building a strong new relationship with the EU as friends and sovereign equals.”

With the bill passed, the UK will enter a transition period on January 31.

During the transition period, the UK will negotiate trade deals and finalise the rules on matters such as immigration, borders and travel.

These discussions are expected to begin almost immediately after January 31.


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The transition period gives Boris Johnson and his Government 11 months to finalise the agreements.

This transition phase will end on December 31, 2020.

For now, things will remain unchanged in terms of holidays to the EU.

Flights, coaches and trains – including the Eurostar and Eurotunnel – will operate as usual until at least the end of December 2020.

No visas will currently be required for British people travelling to the EU after Brexit and valid passports can still be used but it is necessary to have six months left on it to travel to the EU.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) means EU citizens can access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country and this will remain the case throughout 2020.

The card also covers Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland – which aren’t in the EU but are in the Schengen area.

The EHIC won’t, however, work in Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or the Vatican.

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