A few weeks ago I wrote about 5 travel laws all EU citizens should know about. This got me thinking about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit which looks ever-more likely. Here I present some other EU laws which we all take for granted but will disappear immediately if a no-deal Brexit happens.
1. Recognition of UK Driving Licences
Currently driving licences issued by any EU member country is recognised by all others. This will come to a grinding halt overnight on 29th March when UK-issued driving licences will cease to be recognised within the EU. For the sake of clarity, It does not matter what nationality you are, it matters what licence you hold.
Drivers will need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued by the Post Office, and beware there are three types applicable to different countries within the EU. a 1926 Convention for use in Liechtenstein, There is the 1949 Geneva Convention version for driving in Ireland, Spain, Malta and Cyprus with a validity of 12 month, and there is the 1968 Vienna Convention version lasting 3 years for all other EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland.
In practical terms some countries, such as Ireland do not require foreign drivers which hold IDPs to carry them while driving, but this is a country-specific waiver and should be checked before you go. since Malta and Cyprus are island countries you will not end up accidentally crossing a border with an invalid licence at hand.
But if you ever cross the Portuguese-Spanish or Spanish-French or even Spanish-Andorran border then you will need to hold both versions of the IDP and pay twice. If you plan to visit Liechtenstein just park up in Austria or Switzerland and walk across!
Oh yes and don't forget the GB sticker on your car, because the EU symbol on your number plate will no longer apply either.
2. Free calls and data roaming charges
In summer 2017 UK telephone operators were finally bound by EU laws to abolish roaming charges when travelling. So if you have a UK mobile and travelled to Spain then you can call home or use the internet at exactly the same rates as you could back home. This has saved me hundred of pounds over the last couple of years (while also causing a bit of grief at one car rental company)
Once a cliff-edge Brexit happens don't be surprised to see the biggest network operators instantly slap roaming charges back. I mean, why would a for-profit enterprise waive free money instead of having an easy win for their shareholders?
3. European Health Insurance Card
If you hold a European Health Insurance Card you are able to travel to any EU country and if you need any unplanned medical treatment in another EU country you will pay no more than a local resident there.
From no-deal Brexit day forwards you better make sure you have a good travel insurance ready because that's going to all be gone.
4. EU261 flight delay compensation if flying on British airline
Currently all airlines departing the European Union must adhere to strict flight compensation rules in the even you arrive at your destination at least 3 hours late. However if you a travelling from a non-EU country to an EU destination then this only applies if the airline itself is registered in an EU country.
Therefore ALL flights departing the UK on British airlines (e.g. British Airways or Virgin), wherever their destination, will no longer be liable to pay you in the event of a delay that is their fault.
5. Right to protection by any other EU embassy
If you are travelling to a country and ever get into trouble, e.g. you are raped, your partner strangled, get involved in a car crash, get kidnapped, etc. the first thing you must always do is notify the local embassy. However not all countries have a UK embassy in them and currently under EU laws you have the right to protection from any other EU country's embassy such an event.
No longer after B-day. If something bad happens to you in another country and this happens then good luck sorting it out by yourself.