Travelling to the EU with a UK passport if there’s no Brexit deal. Currently, because the UK is part of the EU, you can travel to any EU countries, including Schengen to which Greece belongs, provided your passport is valid for the duration of your stay. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal then, immediately on 30 March 2019, the UK would become subject to Schengen rules. They state that a passport issued by a third country must:
- 1 have been issued within the last 10 years on the date of arrival in a Schengen country, AND
2 have at least 3 months’ validity remaining on the date of intended departure from the last country visited in the Schengen area.
Because third country nationals can remain in the Schengen area for 90 days (approximately 3 months), the actual check carried out could be that the passport has at least 6 months validity remaining on the date of arrival. Warning: don't just look at what time you have left. It is possible to renew your passport in the UK up to six months before it expires and the new expiry date is ten years from the old expiry date. If you did this it would mean that you could still have six months remaining on your passport but it was issued more than 10 years before you travel so it would not meet the rule. The UK government intends to stop this procedure in September 2018. All passports issued after that date will expire exactly ten years after the date of issue. This page may also be relevant.
Driving in the EU if there's no Brexit deal. Currently, because the UK is part of the EU, your UK issued driving licence is valid in any EU country. That may no longer be the case if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and you will need an International Driving Permit, IDP. This is quite a complicated issue so I don't want to try to summarise it. If you still use a UK issued driving licence I would suggest reading the document linked very carefully and also the AA Guidance. I will add three comments however:
- 1 As far as I can see, and I might be wrong, at the moment you can only get an IDP issued under the 1949 convention. If there is a no deal Brexit, after 29 March 2019 you will need an IDP issued under the 1968 convention. You cannot get that until after 1 February 2019 and then you will only be able to get it in person at a post office. Since your licence carries your photo I would guess that you cannot get somebody else to get it for you.
2 It is estimated that they will need to issue 7 million IDPs and that is likely to be heavily front loaded in the period 1 February to 29 March 2019. They intend to use 2,500 post offices on a turn up and go basis. I suspect that is going to be a nightmare in that initial period.
3 You probably won't be able to automatically exchange your UK licence for a Greek one after 29 March 2019 in the event of a no-deal Brexit. You would probably need to retake your driving test and it may well be like starting from scratch, i.e. you might need to take the written exam, complete the mandatory hours of training with a registered instructor and take the practical. Anybody contemplating changing would be advised to do so sooner rather than later. You can still exchange it back for a UK one if you return.
Obviously it is not known if there will be a no-deal Brexit but you should at least assess what the impact would be on you if it happened, what steps you need to take to mitigate the consequences and when you need to action those steps. It is looking likely that a final decision, one way or the other, will not be reached until December and even after that there could be unforeseen pitfalls.
Please keep any comments relevant to living in Greece.