UK driving licences will not be valid in the European Union if no Brexit deal is agreed, and travellers with passports close to their expiry may be denied entry into the bloc, the government has said.
The latest batch of no-deal notices reveal there could be a wide range of impacts on the public if the UK crashes out of the EU without any kind of deal, although ministers say the warnings are intended to help people plan.
The paper on driving says: “Your driving licence may no longer be valid by itself when driving in the EU. If you move to another EU country to live, you may not be able to exchange your licence after the UK has left the EU.”
British drivers may have to obtain one of two different types of international driving permit (IDP), depending on the destination country, in order to drive in the EU on business or on holiday. They will cost £5.50 and will become available from Post Offices from 1 February if no exit deal is struck.
However, people holding EU driving licences will be able to drive in the UK without requiring any extra paperwork. “The UK does not require visiting motorists … to hold a separate IDP to guarantee the recognition of their driving licence,” the paper says.
The prospect that British licences may not be valid in case of a no-deal Brexit was revealed by the Guardian in February.
The papers also say travellers with less than six months on their passports may be denied entry to countries in the EU. The government said UK citizens who planned to travel to the Schengen area after 29 March 2019 should ensure their passports had more than six months’ validity.
“If your passport does not meet these criteria you may be denied entry to any of the Schengen-area countries and you should renew your passport before you travel,” the paper states.
It also reveals Britons could start receiving post-Brexit blue passports by the end of 2019, towards the end of the transition period, but that is not guaranteed.
Passports printed between 30 March 2019 and the introduction of the new passport design would be burgundy but would not include the words “European Union” on the cover. It is possible, however, that burgundy passports could still be issued until early 2020.
The papers were published after Theresa May chaired a special meeting of the cabinet focused on how a no-deal outcome could be handled. The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, was also present for some of the three-hour event.
Other papers reveal:
• Mobile phone bills for Britons travelling in the EU would no longer be subject to existing tariffs. The government said it would legislate to ensure there would be a cap of £45 a month on international mobile data use if Vodafone, O2 and other operators did not agree to absorb the costs of higher roaming charges.
• Ferries and cargo ships may have to supply EU ports with lists of their last 10 ports of call, the crew and passengers. EU law currently exempts ships making regular journeys from this requirement.
• Personal data could still be sent from the UK to the EU, but Brussels would need to rule on whether it views Britain’s data protection rules to be adequate before organisations are permitted to send personal data back. Without an agreement, firms would need to identify some other legal basis for transfers.
• Britain would not automatically get warnings from the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EUSST) programme about asteroids and other space debris plummeting towards Earth. However, the paper on satellites and space programmes says the UK would continue to receive equivalent warnings from the US.
• Smokers would see a new range of graphic pictures appearing on their cigarette packets to warn them of the dangers to their health, as the copyright for the existing picture library is owned by the European commission.
Before the meeting, the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, said the government would withhold a “very substantial” part of the £39bn divorce bill agreed with the EU if no deal could be reached.
“We would always be mindful of our strict legal obligations, but we wouldn’t pay the quantum which is currently under the withdrawal agreement,” he said.
Asked how much the government was threatening to withhold, he said: “I’m not putting a number on it. It is not a threat, it is a statement of fact as part of our no-deal planning. Yes, we would be mindful of our strict legal obligations but the amount and the phased way it is set out in the withdrawal agreement would fall away because there would be no deal.”
The Brexit secretary said he believed the no-deal papers were “part and parcel of our sensible, pragmatic approach to preparing for all outcomes”, but he added: “Getting a deal with the EU is still by far and away the most likely outcome.”
The papers are an attempt to show that Britain is seriously planning for a no-deal Brexit on 29 March in order to strengthen its negotiating hand with Brussels, although May has repeatedly said she would prefer to strike a deal.
A first batch released last month revealed Britons could be liable for higher credit card charges in the event of no deal being reached.
Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said: “We are less than 200 days until we leave the European Union and the government still has no credible plan for Brexit. The cabinet should be planning to negotiate a good deal for Britain, not planning for failure or blaming businesses for the government’s chaos.”