How Will Brexit Impact The UK?
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How will Brexit impact the UK?

 
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With the Brexit negotiations well underway, there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding what leaving the EU means for Britain. We've taken a look at what we know so far, and what UK citizens can expect to come into force once negotiations have been concluded.

What will happen to passports?

Currently, UK passports have the statement 'European Union' printed on the front cover. It's highly likely that every passport issued between now and the day Britain formally leaves the EU will be the same. Passports will also remain valid for 10 years, but despite the fact the document will look the same, it will cease to be an 'EU passport' from the day Britain leaves.

Will border formalities change?

If you regularly travel to the EU you will have noticed that you're able to do so with minimal formalities. British passport holders can even use 'fast-track' lanes reserved for EU citizens at passport control. After Brexit, however, things are likely to get more tangled, with UK citizens having to fill out an online application if they want to visit Europe. There are plans for a new system (ETIAS), which is likely to emulate the ESTA scheme currently in operation in the US. The system will see travellers having to go online and enter their personal data along with the travel document they plan on using.

The latest proposals state that those wishing to apply for travel will have to answer questions relating to their health, criminal records and whether or not they've been refused entry to a member state in the past. The data is then compared with security databases before a decision is made on your application. It has even been suggested that those travelling to the Schengen area will have to submit to fingerprint checks and have their photograph taken. This could potentially add to the cost of holidays and business trips. Although nothing has been confirmed, it is highly likely that the user will have to pay for the cost of the service, meaning the cost of an average family holiday could increase.

What will happen with EHIC?

One of the biggest benefits of EU membership is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The card gives EU citizens access to the same level of public health care as locals in all member countries. Although negotiations are still very much in their infancy, there has been suggestions the EHIC could remain. If, however, it was to end, it could mean an increase in travel insurance costs and those with pre-existing medical conditions can expect to be hit hardest.

The travel association Abta has suggested that Brexit should not have an impact on the EHIC, pointing towards non-member state Switzerland, which still benefits from the EHIC despite being outside the EU. In June this year, the UK government stated that they were keen for all EHIC benefits to continue after Brexit. For full information on the EHIC and the benefits it currently provides to travellers, it's worth visiting https://www.europeanhealthinsurancecard.org.uk/.

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