With fewer than 48 hours until Britain leaves the EU, the Government has dropped some guidelines of what exactly this will mean for traveling to Europe once the transition period ends in 2021.
In a new page entitled “Visit Europe from 1 January 2021”, the government provides some home truths for those who might have expected “business as usual” once Brexit exits the initial divorce phase.
For starters, the ability to use your phone minutes, texts and data on the continent without extra charges will no longer be guaranteed. “From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end,” the page explains. “Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1 January 2021.”
In other words, it’s down to the networks and what kind of arrangement they can reach with their European partners in the next year. If we do go back to the bad old days of roaming charges, however, then you can bet the first network to come up with a competitive deal will see a nice uptick in subscribers.
While the page is generally keen to put a “same as usual” feel to things, there are a few other big changes. You won’t be joining the EU, EEA and Swiss lanes when going through passport control any more, for a start, which may cause hold ups. And if you’re driving, you may need an international driving permit (IDP) as well as a green card and GB sticker if you’re bringing your own vehicle.
The current pet passport scheme will cease, and you’ll have to follow a new process that will take four months to arrange. Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) “might” not be valid, and you may need to show you have enough money to stay in a country upon arrival.
The (moderately) good news is that short-stay tourists won’t need visas. “You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period,” the government explains. That doesn’t necessarily apply for longer trips for workers and students, however.
Three: Roaming after Brexit
“We’re committed to eradicating excessive roaming charges and will retain this great customer benefit regardless of Brexit negotiations, allowing our customers to continue using their usual allowances when they travel within the EU,” a Three spokesperson told Trusted Reviews.
“The short answer is that roaming won’t be affected if you’re a Three customer,” Three’s website explains, adding: “If the law changes, we’ll give you free EU roaming just the same.”
Vodafone: Roaming after Brexit
“We have no plans to reintroduce roaming charges,” a Vodafone spokesperson told Trusted Reviews.
EE: Roaming after Brexit
“Our customers enjoy inclusive roaming in Europe, and we don’t have any plans to change this based on the Brexit outcome,” a spokesperson for EE told Trusted Reviews.
However, the mobile operator has admitted that there is a chance that roaming fees could make a return in the future.
“While nothing will change in the short term, a no-deal Brexit will mean EE loses the protections and regulations that guarantee the low rates European operators charge us when you go abroad,” its website explains.
“In the event of a no-deal Brexit, EE will need to do individual deals with each of the 27 EU countries. This includes 144 operators, in total, but we will continue to do everything we can to provide inclusive roaming for our customers in the long term.”
It adds: “The good news is … we’ve been having positive conversations with our European partners for over a year to ensure we can continue to provide inclusive roaming. We’ll continue those discussions and negotiations.”
BT Mobile: Roaming after Brexit
“Our customers enjoy inclusive roaming in Europe and we have no plans to change this based on Brexit,” a spokesperson for BT Mobile told Trusted Reviews.
O2: Roaming after Brexit
“We currently have no plans to change our roaming services across Europe. We will be working closely with the government and other European operators to try and protect the current arrangements so our customers can continue to enjoy free EU roaming once Britain officially leaves the EU,” O2 has said in the past.
We’ve asked for a statement explaining its current stance, and this article will be updated when we receive it.
Sky Mobile: Roaming after Brexit
“Sky Mobile has no plans or intention to increase prices for customers at this time,” Sky Mobile has said in the past. We’ve asked for a statement explaining its current stance, and this article will be updated when we receive it.
Tesco Mobile: Roaming after Brexit
“There are no plans to change free roaming in Europe for our customers but we are monitoring the situation and will of course inform customers if any changes are going to be made,” Tesco Mobile has said in the past. We’ve asked for a statement explaining its current stance, and this article will be updated when we receive it.