Brexit! Will it happen? Who knows! The Brexit deadline is October 31st and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is determined to get the UK out of the EU with or without a deal.
Mr Johnson and the Government are asking the public if they are ready for Brexit with the help of a £100 million advertising campaign. The messages have been loud and clear and very, very frequent. You will see them on the television and you will hear it on the radio. You will even hear it on Spotify and see it on motorway matrix signs! Anyone driving down the M6 or the M5 will have spotted the warning signs already. Freight to EU may change November 1. Check papers. Come on, can’t we have one place to escape Brexit please!
Regardless of which way you voted or where you stand now, the UK needs to be prepared for any eventuality, especially if we do leave the EU. This is particularly pertinent for truck drivers who must cross the English Channel for their job. How will Brexit affect them? Will they even be able to drive on the continent?
The Government has released a wealth of information on their official gov.co.uk website. But here is some of the crucial information that’s most relevant for drivers.
Is your passport up to date? This sounds obvious but drivers should check to ensure they have at least six months left on their passport in order to enter most European countries. If it is running out, you must renew it immediately or you will not be able to travel.
Will you need a visa? As I write this blog, drivers travelling between the UK and the EU will not require a visa. The European Commission says you can stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, this could all change as nobody knows what the future will bring.
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Do you have the right health insurance? As members of the EU, every British citizen can take advantage of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). However, that could be null and void if we leave without a deal. Make sure you are covered for any eventuality and covers all existing health needs with the correct health cover. The same goes for your travel insurance. Make sure everything is up to date and covers you for every eventuality abroad.
Will I need an International Driving Permit? Quite possibly. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but if the UK leaves the EU with no deal drivers may be required to be in possession of an International Driving Permit. An IDP is a permit that allows British drivers to travel in countries where a UK licence is not enough. These countries include the US, Brazil, Japan and others. If you do require an IDP you can apply for one through the Post Office for £5.50.
British motorists will also be required to place a GB sticker on the back of their vehicles, even if the Union Jack features on their number plate. If you fail to comply you could be fined.
There is some good news for Brits working in the haulage industry. If you work for an EU company and possess a UK Driver CPC qualification, you can swap your UK qualification for an EU one. This move will allow you to work for both UK and EU firms if or when Brexit happens. However, you will have to be quick as the deadline for this is October 31st.
It’s not just your vehicle and travel documents that you must consider before crossing the Channel. What about your mobile phone? Will you be charged for using your mobile abroad? Currently, Brits travelling on the continent are exempt from paying roaming charges, but that could be scraped if a deal is not reached. Make sure you avoid any costly bills by checking with your mobile phone operator now.
This Brexit fiasco has been running for three years and nobody knows what is going to happen in October? Will Boris get a deal? Will he call a General Election? Will he remain as Prime Minister?! Your guess is as good as mine, but whatever happens, we must be prepared for everything.
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