Advice for British expats should no-deal become a reality

Published:  13 Mar at 6 PM
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As the March 29 deadline looms closer and the British parliament becomes even more disorderly, a huge number of UK expats are still totally confused about the effect on their lives of a no-deal exit.

Although the vast majority of EU member states have now reassured their British expat communities as to their rights in the event of a no-deal crash out of the EU, expats are still confused over many aspects of their lives. For example, expats who have money in British bank accounts and use their debit cards to access funds when needed are afraid the facility will be withdrawn. At present, this doesn’t seem likely, but charges for card withdrawals and payments are almost certain to increase.

One card which caused panic when it seemed certain it would be immediately withdrawn is the European Health Card entitling expats to free medical treatment across EU member states. The card will become obsolete after a no-deal Brexit, with those travelling to or emigrating to Europe urged to get private health insurance. No advice has been given for those too old to qualify and those with pre-existing conditions, but most EU countries have reassured their expatriate contingent that free healthcare will still be available pending post-Brexit arrangements with the UK.

Those planning post-Brexit travel to Europe are being advised to make sure their passports have at least six months’ validity before they leave. Visas for EU member states won’t be needed unless the intent is to stay for over 90 days during any 180-day period. Negotiations as to this issue may be forthcoming but, for now, travellers to Croatia, Romania, Cyprus and Bulgaria must comply with country-specific requirements. In the case of a no-deal Brexit less than three weeks from now, travellers can be reassured all flights will run on schedule but delays to Eurostar services may occur at St Pancras Station’s London terminal. Both expats and visitors are being urged to get an international driving permits if they intend to drive in Europe.
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