Britain is at the crux of deciding between whether to stay in the European Union or make a no-deal exit. If the latter scenario plays out it could mean that Britons travelling to Europe after March 2019 will face a hard time.
While current documents published by the government in the last few months offer some form of reassurance, there are some cold hard realities that Britons will have to face, such as additional costs, complexity and disruption.
Travel freedom and passports
A major concern of a no-deal Brexit is the possible impact on the UK passport’s current status.
Owing to the referendum and concern regarding one’s citizenship status in the future, several migrants in the UK and UK migrants living in other countries have applied for a second passport via the dual nationality clause.
Once Brexit occurs, citizens holding a British passport will be categorised as “third country nationals”. This is due to the fact that the UK will no longer occupy a place within the single market. This also means that people holding a British passport and travelling to countries in the Schengen area should be prepared for a future that entails not so free movement, unlike before.
Passports that have crossed the time limit of 9 years and 6 months on the exact date of travel will have to be renewed. To make things worse, the current cost of renewal is very high at 75.50 GBP. If the passports aren’t renewed as per requirement, travellers will have their entry denied.
Another significant and symbolic change that UK’s citizens can expect is a change in the passport colour. What is now burgundy will soon revert to blue. This is likely to take place sometime in October, next year. Though the change does not seem significant, there is a possibility that travellers from the UK will have to stand in queues for longer – at customs, security, and passport control. EU citizens will likely have to face the same situation when entering the UK.
What about air travel?
As of now, the UK is allowed to operate within EU airspace, which pretty much includes all air routes within the European Union. However, with a no-deal Brexit, air travel for UK citizens won’t be the same. For starters, the UK could start to see flight disruption on a massive scale.
This will likely continue until EU-licensed airlines and UK-licensed airlines negotiate new air service agreements under a revised regulatory framework. Now, considering that the number of air service agreements can run into the hundreds, this might take quite a bit of time.
Even if the UK were able to come up with basic air service agreements, the EU could decide to withhold permissions, which would lead to flights between the EU and UK being grounded.
A no-deal Brexit will force EU licensed airlines to secure two kinds of permissions to enter the UK – a safety authorisation provided by the UK’s CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and a foreign carrier permit.
Similarly, UK-licensed Airlines will require permissions from the aviation authorities of each country within the EU, followed by safety authorisation from the European Aviation Safety Agency.
A no-deal Brexit will also hamper travel to non-EU countries from the UK. For instance, the EU-US Open Skies Deal of 2007 will no longer be applicable. What that means is UK airlines will likely no longer have access to American markets and vice versa, until the agreement is renegotiated.
All the above-mentioned complications will also likely cause a rise in air fare.
The only saving grace for travellers now is that air navigation services will continue in line with the rules of the Chicago Convention and the 1944 International Air Services Transit Agreement.