Ready for a post-Brexit world? One million Britons are sent texts reminding them to renew their passports as UK gears up leave the EU
- The Home Office’s ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ campaign is in full swing
- It alerts people to the preparations they need to make before Brexit
- These include text messages reminding people to renew their passports
One million people receiving a text message warning them about passport renewals ahead of the Brexit deadline should note it is NOT a scam.
Though it might look like one, it is a genuine dispatch from the Home Office as part of its ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ campaign – alerting people to the preparations they need to make before the UK separates from the European Union on the planned deadline of October 31.
People who did not receive a text message in the past fortnight should still check their passport is valid for future travel beyond the start of November. This is because texts were only sent to those who provided a mobile number when they last renewed their passports.
Renewing a passport can take three weeks and costs £75.50 if done online
In a post-Brexit world, and in the event of a No Deal, those going abroad will need passports with at least six months remaining on them and which are less than ten years old.
Previous renewals might have added unused months from an old passport to a new one. But these ‘extra’ months won’t count after October 31 – with the exception of travel to Ireland.
Renewing a passport can take three weeks and costs £75.50 if done online – £85 via a paper application. You can also get the Post Office to ‘check and send’ a passport application to ensure it is done correctly. This includes a photo and costs an extra £15.40.
Visit gov.uk/renew-adult-passport/renew to start the process, or visit a Post Office branch that offers a ‘check and send’ service. One type of passport that may no longer be accepted is one belonging to a pet. If so, four months’ forward planning is advised to arrange an official veterinary certificate for animal travel.
As well as passport preparations, travellers will need to check any insurance they have, rules for driving abroad – and phone charges applied by mobile networks for calls, texts and internet browsing while abroad.
A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) grants holidaymakers access to healthcare across Europe for the same cost as local residents – free in many cases. But this may no longer be valid after the end of the month.
Brexit travel: Experts advocate the need for comprehensive travel insurance
Experts advocate the need for comprehensive travel insurance. This will not only cover emergency medical bills while overseas, but also holiday cancellations, theft, and repatriation to the UK.
Sally Jaques, travel expert at comparison website GoCompare, says: ‘The cover provided by an EHIC has been overestimated by many British holidaymakers. Travellers should be arranging travel insurance as soon as they book a holiday to take advantage of valuable cancellation cover.’
Travel insurance for most people is cheap – with the average policy for a single trip to Spain coming in at £10. People with pre-existing medical conditions should use a broker to get the best deal.
The British Insurance Brokers’ Association can match consumers with brokers – visit biba.org.uk or call 0370 950 1790. Those planning to drive abroad should contact their car insurer ahead of departure. Jaques adds: ‘If the UK leaves without a deal, those driving in an EU country may need a Green Card for their car insurance to be valid.’
The Association of British Insurers recommends contacting an insurance provider at least four weeks before travel to arrange such a card. An International Driving Permit might also be needed from next month if No Deal is in place. This would apply to Cyprus, France and Italy, for example.
To check whether this rule applies in a destination country, visit postoffice.co.uk/identity/international-driving-permit.
Using a mobile phone abroad in Europe now costs no more than it does at home. The major mobile networks – EE, O2, Vodafone and Three – have all suggested this won’t change much after Brexit, at least in the short term, but holidaymakers should contact their network for the latest advice ahead of travel. Even if charges do increase, there is an automatic £45-a-month cap on internet data costs unless a customer opts out of the limit.
For details about travel in Europe post Brexit visit gov.uk/visit-europe-brexit.