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Penny Searles' blog: Post Brexit travel for fleets

Date: 05 September 2017

The latest step on our march towards Brexit suggests that EU nationals will be able to enter the UK without a VISA.

Under the government's plans, recent reports suggest that EU citizens won't need visas to enter the UK, but if they wish to work, study or live in Britain, they may need to comply with new migration restrictions.  A full plan for the UK's post-Brexit immigration system is due to be outlined in the autumn.

The same restrictions may apply to UK citizens who wish to visit the Continent but as ever, the devil is in the detail.  Currently we have a relatively smooth process - passports are barely give a glance, your destination is your business and no-one else's and it can be quicker getting to France using the Eurotunnel than getting to Birmingham (and not just if you live in Folkestone!)

For business travellers using company vehicles for cross border trips, time is money - and it's precious time away from home.  However, we now face an uncertain future when it comes to travel to the continent - with no automatic right of admission. 

It's likely we will need to register with the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) in advance.  This is a new system already underway to strengthen the EU's external borders.  In applying for an ETIAS you will need to provide a raft of Personal information including name, address, contact details, passport details and occupation with your job title and employer. 

You'll need to answer questions about your health as well as any past convictions.  You will also be required to confirm the reason for travel, where you are travelling and the address of your first night's stay.  All in all not too dissimilar to the ESTA process for US entry.  You will also need to have a valid passport with at least 3 months' validity.

This is not great news for the fleet manager who is ultimately responsible for the company car fleet. 

It's not just the hassle factor of ensuring drivers have the right paper work and creating audit trails, it's having the ability to prove journeys taken should this become a new requirement - entirely possible.  This is where those fleet managers with the ability to track and record journeys through telematics will have the advantage.  Telematics is not just for major fleets, low cost connectivity solutions are available to small businesses and those operating grey fleet vehicles. 

Each day we take another step closer to a post Brexit world so we all need to be considering the requirements for future EU travel and get our fleets and administration processes ready.