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Passports please: “Bye-bye London, hello Berlin!”

Starting 1 October visitors travelling to the UK from Belgium will require an international passport. An ID card will no longer give you access.  For many Belgian people, who have been travelling to the UK for years on their ID card, Brexit has brought yet another additional cost.

In Belgium passports need to be applied for at your local authority.  Prices vary from municipality to municipality, from between 60 to 80 euros.  This is considerably less than if you have to apply for a British passport in Belgium.

Belgian passports need to be applied for in good time.  Normally it will take around 5 days, but this could be more at peak times.  A more costly fast-track procedure also exists.

If you already hold a passport, check the date before you set off for the Eurostar.  For many countries your passport needs to be valid for at least six months after your travel date, but the UK is not one of these countries!

The passport requirement is already putting a damper on travel to the UK.  At the Sint-Niklaasinstituut, a secondary school in Anderlecht (Brussels) they are scrapping their trip to London due to the cost: “Applying for an international passport for all pupils involves a lot of administrative hassle.  It also makes a school trip to London too expensive. We’re off to Berlin” says Annelies Vande Weyer.

Despite Brexit drivers making their way to byways and highways of England won’t require an international driving licence.  An ordinary one will suffice, at least at present. If your car insurance covered UK travel previously this should also be the case now.  Just check the UK hasn’t been barred on your insurance document.

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