The Government has embarked on a £100 million advertising campaign warning Britons to get ready for Brexit. The October 31st Brexit deadline is getting closer and closer with, as I write, no sign of a constructive deal being struck, running the risk of Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking the UK out of the EU without a deal.
Commercial radio stations are broadcasting regular Brexit updates and adverts on the TV are also advising people to check that they have the right to travel. Motorway drivers are also being targeted with Brexit news with matrix signs up and down the country saying: “Freight to EU may change November 1. Check papers.”
But confusion reins as nobody on either side of the English Channel knows what is going to happen. While Boris is determined to leave with or without a deal, Parliament is still debating on whether they can ask the EU for an extension or revoke Article 50. This is putting lorry drivers who must cross the Channel for their job, business owners who trade with the EU and tourists in a right quandary.
Regardless of the eventual outcome, the official government website offers some important information.
Firstly, drivers should always carry their driving licence with them and they must ensure their passport is up to date and allows them to travel. You must have at least six months left on an adult passport to enter most European countries. If you do not, you will have to renew your passport ASAP.
You should also check to see if you require an International Driving Permit. If you fail to do so in the result of a no deal, you may be travelling illegally and could receive a fine or have your vehicle seized. A motor insurance green card will also be required. An IDP can be obtained from the Post Office and costs £5.50.
Motorists must also take out appropriate travel insurance with health cover before travelling to the EU. Currently, Brits can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but this may not be valid after October 31st, so it’s crucial to act in order to avoid a potential hefty bill.
Drivers of all vehicles, whether it’s a Ford Fiesta, DAF flatbed or Scania beavertail, should ensure their policy covers them for every eventuality and isn’t just the cheapest option going. You should also make sure it covers all destinations, activities and the level of healthcare cover and travel disruption cover it provides.
As it stands, British drivers transporting goods to and from the EU will not require visas for short trips. According to proposals made by the European Commission, you could stay up to 90 days in any 180-day period. But, again, this could all change.
People are also urged to check their mobile phone contracts or risk ringing up an expensive bill. Currently free mobile phone roaming is offered throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, but that will end if we leave. Different phone operators will have different roaming charges so it’s vital to know now. Fortunately, a new law has been created that protects people from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing. But if you need to spend more you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet abroad.
A GB sticker will now be required on the back of your vehicle, even if there is one on the number plate. Failure to do so could result in a fine.
If you work for an EU company and have a UK Driver CPC qualification you can exchange your UK qualification to an EU version. This will enable you to work for both UK and EU companies after Brexit. But you will need to do it before October 31st.
With the Supreme Court ruling that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was unlawful in suspending Parliament, the Brexit debacle is entering unchartered territories and nobody knows what the future may hold. However, while the politicians fight it out in the House of Parliament, businesses and drivers need to know what they can do to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum. Hopefully this post will have educated and informed you of what steps to take.
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