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Video: how could a no-deal Brexit affect business travel?

Travelling for business is part and parcel of many professions. For some people, it can be a fun experience, a way to see places you wouldn’t necessarily go to on holiday. For others, however, it’s a chore, time away from family and their own bed.

But no matter what business travel means to you, everyone can agree that the smoother the journey, the better the experience.

For those with a European passport, travelling within the EU, airports are a breeze with many having installed e-passport scanners at border control which allow EU residents to sail through – if they’re not broken, that is.

Beyond beating the queues of the international passport line, British citizens can also travel visa-free to more than 180 countries, including to every country in the European Union, plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

But the looming confusion of Brexit could bring previously seamless travel experiences to an abrupt halt if we leave without the European Union without securing a deal.

The government has assured UK citizens that travel won’t be disrupted by Brexit before the 31 October which is when current UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, plans to leave, with or without a deal.

While it’s not in the EU’s interest to make travelling difficult for UK residents, given British citizens spend a whopping £33bn in Europe each year, it’s unclear whether future travel to Europe will incur a need for visas.

According to the European Council, UK citizens will not need to apply for a Schengen Visa like many other nationalities until 2021. On 1 February 2019, the European Council said: “EU ambassadors today agreed that, following Brexit, UK citizens coming to the Schengen area for a short stay (90 days in any 180 days) should be granted visa-free travel.”

However, from 2021, UK citizens might not be able to enter the Schengen Area with only their passports. The EU Commission has confirmed that UK citizens might need to pay a fee to visit Europe and will need to complete the online ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) application form before setting off.

Beyond visas, business travellers need to be aware that mobile phone roaming charges will change if there’s a no-deal Brexit. Currently making calls, sending text messages and browsing the internet across Europe incur the same charge as if you were doing it at home.

But with a no-deal Brexit, this could stop immediately, so make sure you turn that data roaming off!

Also, the rules around medical coverage will change in the event of a no-deal. Your EHIC (Europe Health Insurance Card) which entitles you to medical care in the EU, could become invalid. However, whenever you travel, whether for business or pleasure, you should always take out comprehensive travel insurance.

For now, Brexit remains shrouded in speculation, and speculate is the best we can do. Check back for updates on how business travel will be affected when we exit the European Union.

For more information, visit Gov.uk.