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DEALING WITH BREXIT

British pensioners and students living in Europe urged to apply for new EHIC card

British pensioners and students living in an EU country are encouraged to apply for a new European Health Insurance card (EHIC) because current cards become invalid on December 31st.

British pensioners and students living in Europe urged to apply for new EHIC card
AFP

Under the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement British pensioners who are S1 holders and students can continue to use their UK-issued EHIC card for basic health cover when travelling to another EU country as well as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Pensioners and students can also use the cards when returning to the UK but they now need to apply for new one.

Current EHIC cards are only valid until December 31st.

That means yet more paperwork – but there is a positive side to this, insist citizens' rights campaigners British in Europe.

“This is good news as the new EHICs will verify that you have continued rights to use them under the Withdrawal Agreement,” the group says.

The application process is fairly straightforward and can be done via this link.

The following categories of British nationals living in Europe need to apply for a new card:

  • If you have a registered S1 form or E121 because you receive a qualifying pension or benefit
  • If you have a registered S1 form or E121 because you're a family member of someone with a qualifying pension or benefit
  • If you have a registered S1 form or E106 because you're a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another) by 31 December 2020, for as long as you continue to be a frontier worker in the host state
  • If you have a registered S1 form or E109 because you're a family member of someone considered to be a frontier worker
  • If you are a UK student studying in the EU by 31 December 2020

If you are planning on travelling to the UK or another EU country before the end of the year but returning to your country of residence in the new year, then your current EHIC will cover you for basic health cover.

British students in the EU will be covered by their new EHIC until the end of the studies abroad and only in the country they are studying. They are also advised to have travel insurance.

Remember that an EHIC card does not cover all health costs in EU countries and is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover mountain rescue or cruises, for example. For more info CLICK HERE.

For most Britons the EHIC card will no longer be valid after December 31st.

However anyone with a European Health Insurance card issued by their EU country of residence (which in France is known as a Carte europeenne assurance maladie or CEAM) can still use it for health cover when visiting other EU, EEA countries or Switzerland.

For British residents in the EU who are not pensioners, the UK government told The Local that their CEAM will be valid for any treatment they need while visiting the UK.

The UK government's site says: “If you live in the EU or move there before the end of 2020, your rights to access healthcare in your host country will stay the same from January 1st 2021 for as long as you remain resident.

This means you’ll: 

  • continue to get state healthcare in your host country on the same basis as other residents  
  • still be entitled to a European EHIC for travel, including visits to the UK 

People who already have a European card issued by their host country do not need to renew it.

Member comments

  1. The link is incorrect, it is for UK residents ONLY.
    If you are already resident outside UK, it says you need to call +44 191 218 1999 to renew your EHIC. I only found this info when my french postcode was refused and I clicked through to the help page! https://www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/help.do#address

    Given the questions on the form (that I wasted my time completing) you’ll possibly need your NI or NHS number and your EHIC PIN which is on your current EHIC card and begins UK.

    Please, THE LOCAL check your data before sending us all on a wild goose chase!

  2. The link is incorrect, it is for UK residents ONLY.
    If you are already resident outside UK, it says you need to call +44 191 218 1999 to renew your EHIC. I only found this info when my french postcode was refused and I clicked through to the help page! https://www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/help.do#address

    Given the questions on the form (that I wasted my time completing) you’ll possibly need your NI or NHS number and your EHIC PIN which is on your current EHIC card and begins UK.

    Please, THE LOCAL check your data before sending us all on a wild goose chase!

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TRAVEL NEWS

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

People who have more than one citizenship often hold multiple passports, so what does this mean for crossing borders? Here's what you should know.

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

For many readers of The Local, gaining citizenship of the country where they live helps them to feel more settled – but there are also travel benefits, including avoiding the long ‘non EU’ queue when coming back into the Schengen zone.

But this week the problems associated with travelling while holding dual citizenship came to light, leaving many people wondering what they should know when they are entering different countries.

Put simply – which passport should you use? And do you have to carry both with you?

Financial Times journalist Chris Giles tweeted that the UK Border Force “detained” his dual-national daughter while she was travelling from France into the UK with her German passport – and not her British one. 

He went on to say that UK border guards released his daughter. According to Giles, the border staff said she should have had both passports with her “and asked why she was travelling on her German one”.

The rules on dual-nationality have not changed, but now that the UK is not in the EU, there are strict rules on non-Brits who enter the country (and vice-versa) which has made it trickier for travel.

For instance, UK nationals receive a stamp in their passport when entering Schengen member states because they are only allowed to stay up to 90 days within an 180 period (unless they have a visa or residency card).

READ ALSO: Brexit: EU asks border police not to stamp passports of British residents 

People coming from the EU to the UK can generally visit as a tourist for up to six months without a visa – but are not allowed to carry out any work while there.

So which passport should you show?

The first thing to be aware of is there are no specific rules on travelling with more than one passport. 

Travellers can choose to use whichever passport they prefer when going to a country. 

But one thing to note is that it’s worth using the passport that is best suited to your destination when travelling there. Each country has its own set of immigration and visa rules that you’ll need to research closely.

It could be that one passport is better suited for your trip – and you may be able to avoid visa requirements.  

READ ALSO: How powerful is the German passport?

In the case of the UK, many people are still getting to grips with the different rules that apply because it’s not in the EU anymore.

A question submitted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in September 2021 provided some insight into this issue. 

The question from Labour’s Paul Blomfield asked what steps the UK government “is taking to enable dual UK and EU citizens to travel to the UK on an EU member state passport without having to further prove their UK citizenship?”

The Conservatives Kevin Foster said: “Border Force Officers examine all arriving passengers to establish whether they are British citizens, whether they require leave to enter or if they are exempt from immigration control.

“Where the passenger claims to be British, but does not hold any evidence of British citizenship, the officer will conduct all relevant checks to satisfy themselves the passenger is British.

Border control at Hamburg airport.

Border control at Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

“When dual nationals who are eligible to use e-gates travel to the UK, they will enter via the e-gates without being examined by an immigration officer.

“We recommend all dual nationals, including EU citizens, travel on their British passport or with evidence or their British citizenship to minimise any potential delay at the border or when commencing their journey.”

The Local contacted the UK Home Office to ask if there was any official advice. 

A spokesman said: “An individual can present whichever passport they desire to enter the UK, however they will be subject to the entry requirements associated with the nationality of the passport they present.”

They said anyone who is looking for more information should check out guidance on entering the UK and on dual nationality.

In short, if you present a German passport on entry to the UK you will be treated the same as any other German citizen – which can include being quizzed about your reasons for visiting the UK – as border guards have no way of knowing that you are a dual-national. 

Do I have to carry both passports?

There’s no rule requiring you to have both passports, but you won’t get the benefits of a British passport (entry into the UK without questions) if you don’t show it.

Likewise if you are a French-British dual national and you enter France on your UK passport, you will need to use the non-EU queue and may have your passport stamped.

Should I think about anything else?

An important thing to remember is that if you apply for a visa and register your passport details, the same passport has to be used to enter the country. 

It could also make sense to travel with both passports, just in case. 

However, note that some countries – like the US – require that US nationals use a US passport to enter and leave the States even if they are dual nationals. 

In general, it’s best to use the same passport you entered a country with to depart.

The rules and systems are different depending on the country. But many countries require people to show their passport when leaving – and they will either stamp or scan the passport – this is how authorities know that a foreign visitor hasn’t overstayed their time in the country. 

So if your passport is checked as you leave the UK, you should show the one you arrived with, just to ensure there is a record of you arriving and leaving.

However as you enter France/Germany/other EU destination, you can show your EU passport in order to maximise the travel benefits of freedom of movement.

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