Brexit effect on ferries

If you have booked or are looking to book travel plans for 2019, you’ll be wondering how the UK leaving the European Union (EU) on the 31st October 2019 could affect you. We’re still awaiting the final outcome, with the political process still ongoing. However, some updates and reassurances regarding the issue of ferry travel and visas have come to light.

Below you'll find answers to frequently asked questions and what actions you may want to take to avoid any disruption in the event of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ scenario.

Will ferries still operate after Brexit?

There's no need to worry, regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations, ferries will still operate between the UK and the EU. If a deal is agreed, a transition period will follow that will last until December 2020 and ferry services will continue to run as normal. Even in the event of a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has stated that UK ferry operators can still operate services between the UK and EU. The UK government has issued similar assurances regarding EU operators traveling to the UK.

Will I need a visa after the UK leaves the EU?

In November 2018, the European Commission announced that if there is no deal between the UK and the EU, British travellers can still visit the EU without applying for a visa, providing that the same is offered to European citizens visiting the UK. From 2021, UK citizens will have to pay a small fee (approximately €7) for the visa exemption. This is part of a new electronic travel authorisation system applying to all third country visitors to the EU, a similar system to the ESTA process in the United States.

I have booked to travel after the 31st October 2019, could the Brexit outcome lead to my travel being cancelled?

If you've booked ferry travel for after the 31st October 2019 there is nothing to suggest that your plans will be affected, whatever the outcome. Even in the case of a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has given assurances that ferry travel between the UK and EU will still operate as normal.

Travel Advice

This section provides information on areas where the situation is clear or where reasonable action can be taken to avoid possible issues. As the outcome of Brexit is still unknown, areas that are unclear have not be included below.


If you’re travelling to an EU member country, the UK government recommends that you have at least six months left between when your passport expires and your departure date.

Driving your car in the European Union

If you have a full UK driving licence, currently, you don't need any other licence to drive in the EU. If there is a no-deal outcome, that is likely to change. UK drivers looking to drive in the EU after the 31st October 2019 may need to apply for the relevant International Driving Permit.

Check which permit you need for each country you're going to visit, as you may need more than one to comply with the different laws. These permits cost £5.50 and can be purchased directly from the Post Office, RAC or the AA.

Taking your pets to the EU

Even with no deal, pets will still be able to travel from the UK to the EU. However, the document requirements and health check process will change. If owners want to take their pets to the EU after the 31st October 2019, preparations for their pet’s travel would need to be discussed with an Official Veterinarian four months prior to the date of departure. Pet owners should keep checking for updates and further instruction from the UK government.