14 February 2019

No deal? No entry

Brexit warning to businesses with overseas workers to renew passports

In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit situation on 29 March, UK passports with less than six months left on arrival to the Schengen area may run into difficulty when travelling to and between countries. For businesses with UK employees that travel to the EU for work, this could be problematic – warns The Health Insurance Group – and efforts should be made to ensure passports are renewed in time.

If left until the last minute, there could be long delays in processing applications as large numbers of people look to renew their passports in the event of a no deal on Brexit. Companies with overseas workers in the EU would be wise to act now.

An estimated 4.8 million people within the UK travelled to the EU for business in 2017,* and with five million people having renewed their passport in 2009** - who will need to renew their passport in 2019 - this could potentially affect many businesses. Employers need to encourage their staff with British passports to update them now - before they are treated as ‘third country nationals’ post Brexit.

Sarah Dennis, Head of International for The Health Insurance Group said: “Whilst we wait to see the outcome of the Brexit process and the 29 March deadline looms ever closer, organisations cannot risk an abrupt halt to business if no deal is struck – potentially leaving staff unable to conduct their regular affairs in the EU. Our message to businesses is that now is the time to communicate with staff that travel to the EU for work, to ensure that they have a minimum of six months on their passport – or risk not being able to enter a country and continuing to work.”

The new rules*** for travel to most countries in Europe change if the UK leaves the European Union (EU) with no deal. The guidance states that after 29 March 2019:

  • You should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival. This applies to adult and child passports.
  • If you renewed a passport before it expired, up to 9 extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe.
  • The new rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.

*https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/leisureandtourism/datasets/ukresidentsvisitsabroad (2017 download)

** https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/brexit-passport-european-union-britain-eu-travel-29-march-2019-a8756291.html

***https://www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-brexit