There is still much uncertainty around Brexit and the implications around travel to the EU for British citizens. Whether Britain accepts the current ‘deal’ which seems increasingly unlikely, leave the EU without a deal at all or indeed remain within the EU, if you’re travelling to France after 29th March 2019 it’s likely that it won’t be quite as simple as it once was. We look at what is likely to change from visa requirements to passports and car rental in France.
France remains the world’s most visited country with 89 million visitors travelling here in 2018 with a staggering 76% of Brit’s having visited France at some point in their lives. There is no suggestion that this will change and Britain’s love affair with holidaying in France appears secure, however there will be a few more things to consider the next time you visit.
Will you need a visa?
The European Commission have confirmed that should the UK leave the EU, from 2021 (2 years after the leave period), Britons will need to apply for a visa to travel to France (and anywhere else in the EU). The 7 EUR (£6) visa will last 3 years. The visa scheme, ETIAS (European travel information and authorisation scheme) is modelled on the US ESTA scheme and will require basic personal information, contact details and details of your planned visit including dates and locations and will need to be completed 72 hours prior to travel.
At present, you can travel within Europe on a UK passport right up until the date of expiration, however should the UK leave without a deal this benefit will be withdrawn and you will need at least 6 months left on your passport from the date of your return, much like other international travel. This will apply to adult 10 year and child 5 years passports.
One of the biggest airlines serving France from the UK, easyJet have reported no let up in bookings for summer 2019 and advised that plans for a no-deal Brexit are well underway. Quite a different story over at Ryanair who have warned of flights being grounded should no-deal be achieved whilst BA are equally hesitant to commit to their position and have sought reassurance from their Spanish owners (IAG) that Spain would support BA in a no-deal scenario. The issue is around permissions required to fly to and the EU for airlines registered within. At present, as a member state, UK airlines automatically have permission to fly to and from the EU (and visa versa), however in a no-deal scenario specific advances permission would be legally required. There is no suggestion that this would not be granted, however it remains uncertain. Whether you’re flying from London’s Heathrow, Edinburgh or Manchester, if you’re heading to France or anywhere else in the EU, your airline should keep you updated with any specific changes that might affect your travel plans.
At present, there have been no announcements that will directly affect car rental in France, however the EU law introduced in 2016 preventing EU citizens taking a non-EU registered car from Switzerland to France will affect those travelling to Geneva and wanting to take the rental car into France. The law will no longer affect Britons who will no longer be EU citizens. French Entrée readers can still take advantage of a car rental discount with Rhinocarhire.com. See here for tips on saving money when hiring a car.
Whilst a second referendum has been rejected by Theresa May, supported by much of her cabinet, there is still a chance that the UK could yet have a further referendum dubbed the ‘Peoples Vote’ where many commentators and politicians are calling for a 3 option referendum; No Deal, Deal, or Remain. Only a remain result would leave the UK where it is today with its travel relationship with Europe and France. Whatever the outcome, we’ll keep visitors to France up to date with implications as they are announced.