What does Brexit mean for travel?

12 January 2021

Travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change from 01 January 2021.

Your Travel Counsellor will help you to consider everything below so that you can continue to enjoy seamless travel experiences.

The below information is subject to change as new legislation is announced.

The things you may need to do before you go, include:

- Check your passport validity

- Get travel insurance that covers your healthcare

- Check you have the right driving documents

- Organise pet travel - contact your vet at least one month before you go, and follow the guidance about pet travel here.

Please remember that your Travel Counsellor will always be on hand to offer further help and advice in the lead up to your travel dates, which is one of the huge benefits of booking with your own personal travel expert.

Passports and visas:

The UK Government has published a useful website tool to check the validity of your passport for travel to Europe.

When travelling to the EU and the countries named above on or after 01 January 2021, the UK Government recommends that you have six months left on your passport on the date of your arrival to an EU country. Your passport will also need to be less than 10 years old, even if it has six months or more leftPlease click here for more details.

If you need to renew your passport you may wish to do it sooner rather than later to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans. Full details on renewing your passport can also be found here.

If you’re going on holiday you won't need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total.

You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel. Do check the entry guidance specific to the country you are visiting, as some may require a visa and/or other documents. Your Travel Counsellor will be pleased to advise you on any visa requirements for your trip. 

Health care in Europe and travel insurance:

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will continue to be valid if you’re travelling to an EU country.

You can use a UK passport to get medically necessary healthcare in Norway (for example emergency treatment, or to treat a pre-existing condition). If you’re travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you should get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you travel. Make sure it covers any pre-existing conditions that were previously covered by your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

You can read advice on buying travel insurance with the right cover here.

It’s always worth checking that your insurance covers your current circumstances, including any medical conditions.

If you'd like to discuss arranging travel insurance with our preferred insurance provider, please get in touch with your Travel Counsellor. 

UK-issued EHICs after 01 January 2021

Some people can apply for a new UK EHIC that they can continue to use from 1 January 2021 in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. People who can apply for the new card include:

- UK students studying in the EU

- British State Pensioners who live in the EU and their families

- EU nationals in the UK.

You can find out more about the new UK EHIC here.

Driving abroad:

You may need extra documents from 01 January 2021.

If you’re taking your own vehicle, you will need a green card and a GB sticker.

You might also need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some EU countries and Norway, if you have:

- A paper driving licence

- A licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

Please check carefully which permit is required for each country you intend to drive within, as you may need more than one permit to comply with the law.

You can keep up to date with the latest government advice on driving abroad here.

Mobile roaming charges:

Check if your mobile phone operator will offer free roaming to avoid potential new charges when travelling. From 01 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end, but some operators have stated they have no plans to reintroduce charges. 

A new law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing. Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue to use the internet while you’re abroad. Your phone operator will advise you on how to do this.

Possible disruption:

Consider giving yourself extra travelling time in the event of any unforeseen disruption, for example, when travelling through passport control.

When travelling through border control, you may need to:

- Show a return or onward ticket

- Show you have enough money for your stay

- Use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing

Further useful Government information is available here

The European Commission has confirmed that flights to and from the UK will continue to operate as normal.  

For further information, check the latest FCDO Travel Advice, and always ask your Travel Counsellor for all the help and support you need.  

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