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A few Brexit Deal notes: EHIC Still Valid, IDP Not Required & Mobile Roaming Continues

Christmas Morning at the Ski Lodge

As things begin to unravel…

From the BBC:
The deal on the future relationship between the EU and the UK was announced on 24 December. It says that all EHIC cards issued before the end of 2020 will be valid until their expiry date. After that, the UK will issue a new card. The UK government says the new card will be called the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Remember though that the EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance and never has been. Travel insurance has always been recommended for trips abroad with comprehensive Winter Sports cover for those going skiing.

Note however, that the existing EHIC does not cover you in Switzerland from 01 Jan 2021. More information at the NHS EHIC Page – note references to EHIC and GHIC will be changing from 4/1/21 but this site does have updated post Brexit Deal information – there’s a lot that don’t!

From the BBC:
In another development following the deal announcement, the UK Mission to the EU said people with a (photo card) driving licence issued in the UK would not need to use an International Drivers Licence (or International Driving Permit IDP) in the EU. No specific mention of Switzerland for those hiring cars from Geneva airport although we would expect the same rules as the EU.

From the BBC:
The four main operators in the UK declined to comment on the specifics of the commercial deals they have done with other operators, but said they did not plan to reintroduce roaming charges. Three, for example, has free roaming in over 70 countries including Australia and the USA so the commercials and competition mean that roaming charges wouldn’t return anyway.

Current Travel to France – “Essential Travel Only”:
The Attestation Document for International travel to France is available here (in English too!). We noted that there is a tick box for Season Workers among the many exclusions (or maybe inclusions as it’s for those who are allowed to travel). A negative test is required and rules apply until 6 January so far but may well be extended.

Update 28 Dec 2020:
Thanks to DW. “Update from Dover this morning: they are rapid testing everyone (for free) before entering the port. They wouldn’t even look at my previous negative test result. Almost nobody here so testing took barely half an hour and no queues at border control. French border control asked for a piece of paper with my name and french address on but did not ask for the formal Attestation.”

Qualifications etc:
Reciprocal professional qualifications will not be automatically recognised although it looks like previous ones will be and it’s now up to trade/professional bodies in the individual countries to sort out (it never applied to UK / France Ski Instruction qualifications anyway!).

Green Card:
The requirement to carry a “Green Card” (neither green or a card, just a print out of proof of EU insurance) looks like it is mandatory from 1/1/21 although it’s very unlikely it will be checked at the border. Some UK Insurance Companies are now offering the option for a simple download and print of your Green Card to meet these requirements.

Visas:
The 90/180 day long stay rules or long stay visa requirements will now apply but could be changed on a country by country basis (eg Cyprus / Croatia stays don’t apply). Short term visits to member states are mentioned in the agreement and it’s clear they will remain visa free for now although a visa waiver scheme ETIAS (€7 for 3 years) is already planned for 2022.

Air Travel:
Air travel is largely as is with current agreements continuing. A different passport queue at some airports for UK nationals but in reality queues are managed on a demand basis at most airports. You must make sure you have a least 6 months left to the expiry date on your UK passport for entry to all EU countries (except Ireland).

Pets Travelling to EU:
Pets can still travel to the EU although a different process / system has been put in place. An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) will now be required – more info at the gov.uk site here

Road Transportation of Passengers
There is a section in the agreement on the rules for road transportation of passengers (the effect on Ski Transfers / Coach Trips maybe?) but to be honest we didn’t really understand what the outcome would be. It may be that the UK CPC for transfer companies will not be valid from 1/1/21 even for existing holders – more to come on that no doubt.

Hopefully more will become clear in the next few days and weeks with probably a lot more details on other areas too – but life will go on…

Update 07 Jan 2021
The UK border to France remains closed. Castex update here
Only EU residents living in France or essential workers / hauliers etc allowed in – and all requiring a negative approved test within 72 hours prior to arrival. Airlines performing more rigorous checks than border forces or Ferries / Eurotunnel is what we’ve heard so far.

UK TV in France
With satellite footprints getting smaller and the advent of internet based TV services becoming the norm there are some new hurdles to jump come 01 Jan 2021. Services such as Sky Go, NOW TV and BBC iPlayer were authorised on UK roaming phone internet while in France. Some broadband providers would also allow UK TV to work without a VPN being required when EU made the change a couple of years ago.

The rise in VPN services available on all device such as Smart TVs and Amazon Firesticks used to be a simple way of circumnavigating any location restrictions however App based services (such as the iPlayer and NOW TV player) started to detect VPN traffic and block access – even if it was a legit work based VPN. A work around for the iPlayer is to simply use a browser at bbc.co.uk/iplayer when the App based service fails.

From 1/1/21 the location based blocking is back and a VPN is required. For App based services even tethering a UK roaming phone to a Smart TV doesn’t work – the full solution is to get a VPN installed on your router then devices with App based serves connecting to the router will continue to work.

Speeding Tickets
Back in 2015 an agreement was made to exchange information on drivers across the EU so triggering a speed camera in France would mean getting a letter to your home address in the UK.

Hire car firms sometime pay up straight away and then charge your credit card (plus an admin fee) or sometimes just give your address details to the relevant authorities.

It was never that clear what would happen if you didn’t pay when a foreign police force was trying to fine you. They didn’t get your passport details apparently so you wouldn’t be stopped at the border if you had outstanding fines. Whether they all would chase the fine was uncertain but being stopped abroad and asked for your licence would be another matter however…

From 1/1/21 however the French have confirmed that cross-border exchanges of information relating to traffic offences will no longer occur. On the spot penalties can still be issued however (and yes, they do give you a police escort to a cash machine if needed – from personal experience!).

France stands to lose up to €60 million per year in unpaid tickets according to some sources.

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