Note: Although we’re posting this on the 1st April, Brexit is not an April Fool’s. Sadly.
Ahh, Brexit. The 29th March 2019 has been and gone and the UK is still apparently in the EU. But somehow Brexit is still inching closer and closer (what date is it now…12th April? Goodie) and no one’s any the wiser with regards to what will happen with the UK. But there is some important information for travellers considering visiting Croatia after Brexit which we’ll lay out here. Whether any of this will actually come into effect and when (April? May? Never?!) we shall just have to see.
The information on this page is largely related to travellers visiting Croatia after Brexit. If you’re a British national residing in Croatia (or thinking about doing so), we’d suggest looking at the information provided on the GOV.UK website: Living in Croatia. If you live in Croatia and have any concerns, you may like to contact the British Embassy in Zagreb.
All of this information on this page relates to visiting Croatia as we’re an Croatian travel information website, of course. But Croatia is part of the EU, so (most of) this advice relates to visiting any other EU country as well.
Much of the information also depends on whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. Really, it’s a waiting game as to what will happen.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
Should the UK leave the EU on 12th April without a deal, EHIC cards will no longer be valid. If there is a deal, these cards are likely to still be valid over the next few years of transition. Beyond that, it is unclear whether UK citizens can use EHIC cards in Europe.
If you already have an EHIC card and are visiting Croatia this year, we would advise you to still take it along.
But most importantly, we would absolutely advise all travellers to arrange separate travel insurance for visiting Croatia in case any health issues arise.
More info: EHIC advice (NHS)
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 12th April, UK driving license holders will need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) in order to drive in the EU (including Croatia).
An IDP is not a driving license, but a permit that can be used in addition to a British driving license. It is used in countries where using just a UK driving license is not sufficient. (Currently around 140 countries – not including the EU – require one for British drivers.)
An IDP can be easily obtained from the Post Office and costs just £5.50. If you’re planning on driving in Croatia this summer, we would recommend you obtain an IDP now (given the low cost), just to be on the safe side in case of a no deal Brexit.
More info: Driving Abroad (from Gov.uk)
Passport Requirements for Croatia and the EU
Advice here actually differs for the EU and for Croatia – most of the EU is part of the Schengen Zone whereas Croatia (and Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus) are not (yet).
If travelling to the Schengen Zone after a possible no deal Brexit, you need to have at least 6 months left on your passport after arriving in that Schengen Zone country. That means if you currently have less than six months left on your passport, you need to renew your passport pretty much immediately.
However, for non-Schengen Zone EU countries – such as Croatia – this rule does not appear to apply. (Or rather, such countries can apply their own rules.) If you’re visiting Croatia after Brexit, it does not seem to be the case that you have to have six months left on your passport. The Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website does not state anything regarding this – only saying:
** Since Brexit talks are still ongoing, the public will be informed about possible changes to the entry terms and travel regime in regard to British citizens via media and the MFEA website in timely fashion.Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website
Which is about as vague as Brexit itself. Essentially, keep your eyes peeled.
More advice: Passport rules for travel to the EU after Brexit (Gov.uk)
Visa requirements for Croatia and the EU
In future, although UK passport holders won’t require a visa to visit Croatia/the EU, they will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver. ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) is essentially the European version of an ESTA, the visa waiver programme for the United States.
When it comes into effect (in ‘early 2021’), it can be applied for online and will cost €7. It will be valid for three years.
More info: A European Travel Information and Authorisation System – Questions & Answers (European Commission)
These days, what’s a holiday without posting daily updates on Insta, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Linkedin, Myspace and MSN Messenger? #summerhols And we all know how picturesque and photo-perfect Croatia is, right? It’s just made for sharing.
Aside from a smartphone, what’s the next most important thing you need to achieve peak social media sharing? Data roaming…and lots of it.
Brits been lucky enough to get ‘free’ data roaming (plus calls and texts, of course) in the EU for a couple of years now. However, this will very likely change post Brexit – with or without a deal.
The current suggestion is that should the UK leave the EU with a deal, British holidaymakers could still enjoy free data roaming until the end of 2020 (or until the end of the transition period, if different).
However, if the UK leaves without a deal then it is down to individual mobile operators as to whether or not they start reintroducing charges for using a phone in the EU – and they could do so almost immediately.
You may like to contact your mobile phone network to see what they say with regards to this, particularly if you’re planning on visiting Croatia or the EU soon.
- Mobile firms refuse to rule out return of roaming charges after Brexit (Money Saving Expert) – includes a useful list of responses from different networks
- Mobile roaming charges: What will happen in Europe after Brexit? (BBC News)
Flights to Croatia and the EU
Even if there is a no deal, it is very unlikely that flights to or from Croatia would suddenly get cancelled the day after the UK leaves the EU. So if you have already bought flights to Croatia, or are thinking about it, we would say don’t worry in this regard – and look forward to your holiday!
More info: Brexit: Will flights be disrupted? (BBC News)
Visiting Croatia after Brexit – in conclusion
If you have booked your flights and holiday to Croatia this summer, we’re (almost) sure that everything will be fine and that you’ll have an amazing time.
But, overall, we’re recommend paying close attention to the news to a) see the actual Brexit outcome and b) in case there are any announcements effecting travellers to the EU!