Brit government urges expats to check passport validity

Published:  10 Apr at 6 PM
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The British government is warning UK expats to check their passports prior to travelling post-Brexit.

The official passport warning to British expats living in EU member states also mentions healthcare may not be available using an EHIC card, but the at least six-month post-travel validity of the British passport in the case of a no-deal Brexit is essential. It now seems that, for those who renewed their passports before the due date, the extra months credited in addition to the 10-year validity may no longer be recognised by European customs officers, thus leaving passports technically out of date. For those worried their passports might confirm the government’s advice, there’s a convenient passport checker page on the website.

Of further concern to expats as well as UK citizens travelling on holiday, for business, or for leisure purposes in the EU is the government’s warning about the use of emergency EU-based healthcare services. According to officials, should a Brexit deal be agreed, healthcare provisions will continue as at present until the end of December 2020, with the EHIC health cards still able to be used. Friends and family visiting British expats living in the EU will also be covered via application for the EHIC card. As with everything expat-related, a no-deal Brexit will result in the loss of free healthcare in all EU countries in which the EHIC card can be used, although the recently-issued Royal Decree continues EHIC healthcare coverage for resident expats and visitors in Spain.

Further UK government advice advocates the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance for all visitors, as the EHIC card doesn’t cover private healthcare costs including repatriation via an air ambulance, nor does it cover injuries caused by participation in hazardous sports or other activities such as skiing or scuba diving. For these, other such pursuits and previous conditions, it suggests special cover. Another governmental hint refers to access by British passport holders to Schengen area countries in the case of a no-deal exit, allowable provided the stay is no longer than 90 days. Local British consulates are also recommending British expats in EU member states who wish to travel post-Brexit should take their residency documents with them in order to avoid any re-entry issues.
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