Brexit and the EU Referendum

Staff and student travel

As the University has a number of overseas research and teaching operations, the potential disruption to travel as a result of Brexit is a concern. A No Deal Brexit could lead to the include cancellation or delay of flights, missed connections due to immigration delays, indirect costs for accommodation, the validity of passports, driving licences and other documentation.

What have we done?

We have sought clarification on how our insurance policies will respond. This will have to be on a case by case basis and insurers are not currently giving any detailed advice.

It is mandatory for all staff and students travelling out of the UK to activate University travel insurance. We have pulled together a range of information and advice on travel in the EU after Brexit, you can find this on the University staff travel page (log-in required).

Where can I get support?

What happens to planes in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

Regardless of the Brexit outcome, planes will still fly between the UK and the EU: if a deal is agreed then we will be in a transition period, meaning everything will stay the same until the end of December 2020 and flights will continue as normal. Even in a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has said that UK airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU. The UK Government has offered similar assurances for EU airlines (source: ABTA).

In a no-deal scenario it is highly probable that there will be disruption in and around major termini (airports/ports) between UK and EU27 countries, potentially with knock-on effects on non-affected countries. As such it is recommend that, where possible, advanced travel is booked away from this time.

The European Commission has confirmed that British travellers will no longer be able to use the EU or EEA passport lanes in a no-deal scenario. This could cause delays given the volume of UK/EU passengers and the additional passport checks that need to be carried out, particularly at small airports where there is poorer infrastructure.

What about our travel insurance?

We will continue to respond primarily in the normal manner, however, please be aware that our travel policy has a standard policy exclusion for claims occurring as a result of regulations made by any public authority or government or persons with the authority under legislation or licence to make regulations.

Insurers have confirmed that this clause was never included with a view to a situation such as Brexit, and it states ‘regulations made by a government or public authority’. In the Brexit scenario it is actually a lack of regulations which theoretically could result in grounded planes.

It is our insurance broker's (Gallagher’s) and our insurer's view (AIG) that disruption costs could rest with carriers: i.e., if an airline needed to apply for a licence, it would be required to refund or provide an alternative flight, but it will depend on the circumstances and each claim will be handled on its merits at the time of any actual circumstance.

CAA rules on delays and cancellations will continue to apply post-Brexit. However, if at the time of booking there were no warnings ‘not to book due to possible grounding of aircraft’, and accommodation, conference fees or other pre-booked non-refundable costs were incurred, then it is possible that the insurance policy will respond, but again, any claim will be handled on its merits at the time of any actual circumstance.

Will my passport be valid?

The rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the European Union with no deal.

If this should occur it is likely that:

  • You should have at least six 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 nine 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 six 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.

If anyone cancels or rearranges a trip due to having an incorrect passport, insurance cover will not apply. This position is unchanged from the current terms and conditions: i.e., it is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure that they have a valid passport and visa (if necessary). This is not outside the Insured’s or the Insured Person’s control, and policy cover is not triggered.

Can I drive in the EU after Brexit?

In a no-deal scenario, UK travellers who are intending to drive in the EU may need to apply for the relevant International Driving Permit. These cost £5.50 and are available directly from the Post Office. The Government has extended the network of Post Offices where you can apply for an International Driving Permit.

It is also likely travellers will be required to carry a ‘Green Card’ in order to extend our UK motor insurance to the EU. This will need to be issued via our insurers and therefore additional notification time will be required and a potential cost incurred.

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