Potential changes to travel insurance and passport rules for UK holidaymakers after Brexit are being highlighted in a series of adverts starting this week.
The government’s “UK’s new start: let’s get going” campaign will be run on TV, radio, online, print and billboards.
There will be advice for Britons in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK, as well as UK and EU businesses, on how to prepare for the end of the transition period on 31 December.
People will also receive text messages.
Ministers say most of the actions that citizens and businesses are being asked to take will need to be completed regardless of the ongoing negotiations between the UK and EU on the post-Brexit trade arrangements.
That is because the UK will no longer be part of the current customs union at the end of the year, no matter what arrangements are put in place.
The government says the actions people need to take after 1 January 2021 will vary depending on individual circumstances but the adverts will cover advice suggesting that:
- Britons intending to travel to Europe should ensure their passports are valid for a specific period, they have comprehensive travel insurance, and they check their mobile phone roaming policy
- people travelling to Europe from the UK with pets should contact a vet at least four months before their trip
- businesses planning to export or import to or from the EU should ensure they have registered with the relevant customs authority
The adverts will advise people to “Check, Change, Go” and recommend using a checker tool on the government’s website.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said the end of the transition period will “bring changes and significant opportunities for which we all need to prepare”.
“While we have already made great progress in getting ready for this moment, there are actions that businesses and citizens must take now to ensure we are ready to hit the ground running as a fully independent United Kingdom.
“This is a new start for everyone in the UK – British and European citizens alike.”
However, the Cabinet Office says some of the UK-wide guidance will not apply to trade between Northern Ireland and the EU until the negotiations have concluded. A special trade arrangement involving Northern Ireland was agreed as part of the Brexit transition deal.
Liberal Democrat acting leader Sir Ed Davey said the advertising campaign would fill businesses struggling with the impact of the coronavirus with “utter horror”.
He said ministers should be seeking “as close as possible relationship with the EU to not only minimise the damage to the UK, but allow both themselves and British business time to focus on getting the UK back on its feet again after the pandemic”.
It comes after the government announced a £705m funding package to help manage Britain’s borders after Brexit – measures Labour said were “too little, too late” and showed that ministers were unprepared.