How does Brexit affect travel?

All the information you need to help you prepare for travel after 1st January 2021 can be found here.

Travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change from 1 January 2021.

Things you may need to do before you go include:

  • check your passport
  • get travel insurance that covers your healthcare
  • check you have the right driving documents
  • organise pet travel

Pets: From 1 January 2021 you will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme, instead you’ll need to follow a different process . Find out how to prepare for travel with your pet to any EU country or *Northern Ireland here.

*The new pet passport scheme will be applied for travel to Northern Ireland from the 1st July 2021.

Travel Documents: You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021. On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

Travel & Health Insurance: You should continue to get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad. From 11th January 2021 UK residents will now be able to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).

Under Britain's new agreement with the EU, UK residents' rights to emergency and medically necessary healthcare will continue when travelling in the EU. This includes medically necessary treatment for pre-existing or chronic condition.  Current European Heath Insurance Cards (EHIC) are valid as long as they are in date and people can continue to use these when travelling to the EU. Further information can be found on the UK Government website here.

Driving and other transport: You’ll need some extra documents to drive in the EU from 1 January 2021. You’ll need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some countries. Check to see if you need an IDP here.

If you’re taking your vehicle, you’ll also need:

  • a ‘green card’ - allow 1 month to get this from your vehicle insurance company
  • GB sticker

Food & Drink - Plants & Plant Products: From 23:00 on 31st December, people travelling from Great Britain to the EU and EEA countries with plants and plant products, as well as products of animal origin (POAO) - such as anything containing meat or dairy - will need to consume or dispose of them before or at the EU border. The rules will apply for food and drink for personal consumption (as opposed to commercially traded), whether carried in luggage, vehicles, or on their person. These rules apply to all non-EU/EEA countries and are designed to protect biosecurity.

There are exceptions to this rule for certain quantities of powdered infant milk, infant food, special foods or special processed pet feed required for medical reasons, confectionary, and other items below a certain dairy threshold.

If passengers fail to dispose or declare their products, then the EU may enforce a fine or prosecute. 

 Additional guidance for passengers can be found through the Visit Europe government page.

Border Control: There may be a requirement to present your return tickets. In addition, you may have to show you have enough money for your stay. Please be aware that you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens when queuing.

Visa: You will not need a visa to enter the EU if you’re going on holiday or staying for a short break. UK Passports holders will not need a visa to travel to the EU for stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. The same vice versa: holders of Irish and EU member state passports will not need a visa to travel to the UK.

You may need a visa or permit to stay for a longer period, to work or study, or for business travel.

Keep up to date with all the latest Brexit travel advice here or alternatively visit our Brexit page for more information.




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