I am a citizen of the UK, where I live. I am travelling to Amsterdam for a conference on April 11. The UK may leave the EU on April 12th (as a No Deal Brexit) if Theresa May's brexit deal doesn't pass. I'm travelling back from Amsterdam on April 14th. Flights, hotel and conference tickets are booked, passport is valid, etc. What preparations do I need to make to ensure that in the case of a no deal brexit, I can return to the UK on April 14th?

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    Have you checked the Brexit-related travel advice on gov.uk/visit-europe-brexit ? The advice states there would be changes if you visit the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and the UK leaves the EU without a deal. It would mean that from 12 April 2019, the rules for passports, driving, EHIC cards, pet travel and more would change. If the guidance doesn’t tell you what you want to know, please edit your question to describe your specific concern(s).
    – Traveller
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 15:10
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    What is your citizenship and your visa/residency status? Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 15:13
  • @Traveller thanks I'll give that a read; NateEldredge I'm a UK citizen
    – Tom Oakley
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 16:17

3 Answers 3


As Harper explains, you will definitely be allowed back in the the UK if you manage to get there, and the remaining EU will have absolutely no reason to launch a witch hunt for stranded Britons on short visits.

A different worry is that your flight home might be canceled if it turns out that a no-deal Brexit means that EU airlines have no legal right to serve UK airports and vice versa. If your ticket is with an UK airline, this now seems to be unlikely as the EU has passed legislation to allow UK airlines to fly to the EU for a transitional period even after a no-deal Brexit. They're poised to withdraw this quickly if the UK doesn't offer equivalent access to EU airlines, but they'd probably allow at least a few days time for the UK to fix the cock-up if things start to melt down immediately after Brexit.

I'm not aware of any positive corresponding rulemaking in the UK. This gov.uk "guidance" from 7 March states an intention to give reciprocal access, but it is not clear what would need to happen to make that a legal reality, and whether the government is on track for getting those things to happen. It doesn't seem terribly likely that they'll choose this as the opening shot in an all-out trade war, but if your bookings are with a EU airline, you may want to start preparing mentally for possibly being stuck on the continent for several additional days before you can repatriate yourself via sea, tunnel, or a UK carrier.

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    The last three years has severely eroded my level of trust of politicians to organize a p*** up in a brewery, never mind an emergency transportation system. Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 21:31
  • The EU has declared that the right of British expats are a matter for the individual member states. The Netherlands are taking measures to give temporary residence permits, so there should be no problem for visitors, either.
  • It is conceivable but unlikely that something could happen to air traffic. There are suggestions of temporary permits even in the absence of the Brexit deal, but these are contingent on reciprocity. There could be a tit-for-tat if things turn unfriendly.
    It might be a good idea to have enough money in the bank account/credit card limit to take alternative routes home, e.g. a ferry or the train.
  • Or to get euros out of the bank before the 12th.
    – Willeke
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 19:42
  • @Willeke, one would need pounds if one steps from the ferry in Harwich at 0-dark-30.
    – o.m.
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 4:10
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    To buy your ticket to Harwich, in case of complete panic.
    – Willeke
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 4:16
  • I see mutual non-extension of landing rights as unlikely but possible. A breakdown of the credit card system seems even less likely.
    – o.m.
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 4:24
  • @o.m. a breakdown of the credit card system is indeed unlikely, but problems preventing transactions between the UK and the EU could be less unlikely.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 14:10

Easy. You can definitely re-enter. One huge feature of being a citizen of country X is that you cannot be refused entry into country X.

So as a UK citizen you are entitled to enter the UK.

If you show up without papers, they can detain you until they confirm your citizenship. However if you have proper documents along, it'll be no trouble at all.

  • But would the person's presence in the Netherlands be legal on the 13th and 14th?
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 17:23
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    Getting to the UK border might be problematic if the UK crashes out without an air transport agreement that allows planes to keep flying. There'll still be sea crossings and the tunnel, of course. Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 17:26
  • @phoog I think the worst-case scenario there is they'll be in a gray area with millions of other Britons, most of them also doing short-term travel and most returning that same week; EU immigration would be disinclined to make an issue of it because they'd lack the bandwidth to do so. Over an issue that, once an agreement is reached, will surely give Britons no worse immigration deal than EU gives the USA; so Brits would already be entitled to visaless entry for 90-out-of-180 or whatever; all in all an immense nothingburger. Bigger fish to fry... Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 17:44
  • @HenningMakholm Or even, they could fly to Ireland and walk across the UK border going "Good Friday agreement, ha ha.." Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 17:49

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