I'm a Belgian citizen. I'll be traveling to London from March 25th until March 31th included. I'll be working (following a training, actually) from March 25th until March 28th included, but will stay for tourism a few extra days to "live" the Brexit.

I'll be able to come to London as a European citizen using only my European ID card, but how will I need to leave? Do I need a passport or something similar? I plan to come and go with the Eurostar.

  • 5
    I'm flagging the question as primarily opinion-based because of the general uncertainty surrounding Brexit at this time. Jan 16, 2019 at 10:19
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    Nobody knows, so this is unanswerable. Jan 16, 2019 at 11:37
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    I can't agree with the suggestions that this question should be closed. The UK's Department for Exiting the European Union has published policy on this topic, and while I don't believe that policy has legal force at this time it's certainly valuable information for OP to be made aware of. Even without that published policy, "the rules in this situation aren't yet clear" is a perfectly valid and useful answer to a question (if that is indeed the case). If the rules are unclear, that is the answer to the question, not a reason to close the question.
    – Chris H
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:46
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    will stay for tourism a few extra days to "live" the Brexit, please avoid disaster tourism, at least until the dust has settled down.
    – gerrit
    Jan 16, 2019 at 14:08
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    @KeithLoughnane FYI you don't need a passport at the moment. Almost all EU countries issue national identity cards which can be used for intra-EU travel.
    – Aaron F
    Jan 16, 2019 at 14:27

5 Answers 5


Nothing is certain about Brexit. May's deal which would have resulting in a transition period just got voted down in Parliament. This was followed by a confidence vote which the government passed, but it's still far from clear where we go from here.

What I think can be said is.

The UK is not a country that normally gets in the business of stopping people from leaving. It doesn't even have government-run exit checks. If services are running and you have documentation that is acceptable to the destination of that service you will almost certainly be allowed to board. In other words if a direct service from the UK to other EU countries is running I would be extremely surprised if you were unable to board it using an EU national ID card.

The worry is whether services will be running at all. Most likely even in the event of a "no deal" brexit some sort of arrangement will be made to keep services running but until such an arrangement has been agreed and ratified on both sides it cannot be guaranteed.

If you insist on doing this and things don't become clearer before you leave for the trip then I would advice you bring your passport with you. You probably won't need it but it gives you options in the event that it is not possible to travel home directly.

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    Actually certain things are decided regarding no deal, including that EU IDs will "initially" remain valid for entry
    – Crazydre
    Jan 16, 2019 at 10:48
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    While he doesn't explicitly state it the OP strongly implies he has and plans to travel on an EU national ID card. Jan 16, 2019 at 13:10
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    I've not seen any plans to repeal the domestic free-movement law (the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016). Until those regulations are repealed, nationals of EU and Schengen countries and their family members will continue to enjoy a right of freedom of movement because it is granted by UK national law.
    – phoog
    Jan 16, 2019 at 15:19
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    @EwigeStudentin the UK will probably end freedom of movement at some point unless it remains in the EU (or in the unlikely event that it leaves under terms that involve remaining in the free-movement regime). But freedom of movement will not end automatically on exit unless parliament changes existing law to make it so.
    – phoog
    Jan 16, 2019 at 16:16
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    @phoog a very important aspect that is often missed in the discussions. The UK doesn't automatically cease to apply EU law on Mar 29th, it needs to actually repeal it.
    – JonathanReez
    Jan 16, 2019 at 17:21

It has been confirmed that, in a no-deal scenario, EU ID cards will remain valid for entry at least until 2021.

So just bring your ID card as usual.

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    This answer would benefit greatly from a source backing it up. This policy paper is the best I can find (see para.13).
    – Chris H
    Jan 16, 2019 at 10:56
  • @ChrisH It's where I got it from
    – Crazydre
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:54
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    @Crazydre as far as I understand it, a policy paper is a statement of intent but has no legal force. It'd certainly be a surprise if things were to change on this front, but I'd not consider it "confirmed" on this basis.
    – Chris H
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:57
  • I think this is logical, too. You are allowed to enter UK with your ID card prior to 29 March, there is no way they can refuse you. On the other hand, once you are in UK and want to leave after 29 March, what are they going to do? They might refuse letting you enter at that time, but surely they'll not force you to stay. Worst thing, they might "deport" you, but that's a kinda ridiculous thought to be honest. Not impossible, but truly ridiculous. I wouldn't expect that to happen.
    – Damon
    Jan 16, 2019 at 14:18
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    @ChrisH are you aware of any plans to repeal the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016 as of exit day? The withdrawal act explicitly provides that domestic legislation based on the European Communities Act 1972 will continue to have effect. Until the regulations are repealed, EU citizens continue to have a right of free movement in the UK because they are granted that right in domestic law.
    – phoog
    Jan 16, 2019 at 15:17

It’s quite amazing I am having to say this two months from the end of what was meant to be a two year period in which everything was sorted but…..nobody knows.

By default, if nothing further happens, then a 'no deal Brexit' is where the country is heading.

Though many of the more enthusiastic pro-brexit people like to say that this is all good and fine and anything bad about it is fear-mongering, as things stand at the moment it does look to cause quite a lot of disruption for travellers as nothing has yet been agreed on how UK air traffic control, airline safety checks, and immigration will fit in with the world following the elimination of most of Britain’s international agreements.

This is of course an absolute worst case. Even many of those openly calling for no deal don’t literally mean do no extra work and just leave without any agreements. Many of them fully recognise that we have to normalise our World Trade Organisation status for example (currently the UK cannot trade on WTO rules) and other common sense things like this.

I’d like to hope this worst case won’t happen. Given that a smooth orderly Brexit in March seems highly unlikely this probably means the whole thing being delayed.

But in these uncertain times… everything is a huge nobody knows.

Looking at the list of possible options and assuming all are equally likely then things remaining largely as they are for another few years at least and there being no disruption comes out on top.

But if the worst case comes to pass and the drawbridge is pulled up then there’s likely to be huge disruption for anyone flying in April. Even if the crazy legal situation of there being no basis for planes to fly is sorted within a week the airlines will take much longer than this to get their schedule straight again.

Since nobody knows it all depends how much of a gambler you are and what your personal predictions are for how things will go.

If you’re a pessimist then I wouldn’t risk booking a flight for summer at least.

If you’re an optimist then just live your life as you would if all this wasn’t happening.

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    What if I am a realist? Jan 16, 2019 at 13:24
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    Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Keep an eye out to see if there are further developments which reduce or increase the risk. Always carry your passport when travelling internationally even if it's not strictly needed and make sure you have enough money to cover contingencies like being unable to travel at the planned time or on the planned route. Jan 16, 2019 at 13:42
  • "following the elimination of most of Britain’s international agreements" Wasn't there some law passed soon after the Brexit vote which effectively turned all EU law into UK law in the UK, precisely to avoid disruption?
    – user
    Jan 16, 2019 at 20:50
  • thats internal laws. International agreements can't be transferred unilaterally, they need the other party to agree. Jan 17, 2019 at 8:53
  • In my opinion this is the best answer. If someone was determined to be in the UK during brexit they might considered Northern Ireland. Even in there are no planes flying from the UK and the passport checks etc break down. They could always cross into Ireland by land and get a flight from there. But there might be different issues there, riots for example and flights from Ireland might be disrupted by knock on effects from disrupted UK flights but at least all the legal frameworks will still be in place and you can get compensation for delayed flights etc.
    – user59310
    Jan 17, 2019 at 9:32

While the other answers talk about the official requirements I would add that you should be prepared for a dynamic situation leading up to and in the days following Brexit. It's possible requirements could change with little notice.

If at all possible bring a passport as it's your best bet to get home smoothly.

Edit - Updated based on Crazydre response.


In the worst case, entering the UK with an EU passport might be a problem after March 29th, but it is hard to imagine why leaving would be a problem. The EU will let you in, because you have an Eu passport, and the UK would have no reason to hold you. In the absolutely, absolutely worst case they might remove you from the country (highly unlikely), but they wouldn't stop you.

  • An EU passport certainly won't be an issue; the question is about an identity card. It's deicded that, in case of no deal, they'll still be valid until 2021 at least
    – Crazydre
    Jan 27, 2019 at 2:43

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