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 changed on 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: You are not able to use the existing pet passport scheme, instead you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) for your pet. 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:

 From 1st January 2021, your passport will need to fit the below criteria on the day of your departure:

  • Must have at least 6 months of validity
  • Must be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left) 
  • These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay

You will still be able to travel with a burgundy or ‘European Union’ passport after Brexit. New blue passports are being issued, so you can expect to be sent one of these when you renew your current passport.


Travel & Health Insurance: You should continue to get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad. 

Any EHIC cards issued before the end of 2020 can still be used until they reach their expiry date.

Once your EHIC has run out you will be need to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). A GHIC will cover you for state healthcare in the country you're visiting - just like an EHIC does.

In Norway you can use a UK passport to get medically necessary healthcare (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).

As before, it is important to get travel insurance in addition to your EHIC or GHIC as they will not cover everything e.g. medical repatriation. Some travel insurance policies only cover certain types of disruption. Check your provider’s terms and conditions to make sure you have the cover you need if your travel is cancelled or delayed. Your consumer rights have not changed since 1 January 2021. This means that if your travel is cancelled or delayed you may be able to claim a refund or compensation. Check your booking’s terms and conditions to find out more.

Further information can be found on the UK Government website here.


Driving in the EU:  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 meet certain criteria. Check to see if you need an IDP here. You must also carry your UK driving license with you. For more information please visit our driving in the EU after Brexit page. 


Food & Drink - Plants & Plant Products: Following Brexit, people travelling from Great Britain to the EU and EEA countries will be unable to take certain food and plant products with them.

You cannot take: meat or products containing meat; milk or dairy products; fresh fruit (apart from bananas, coconuts, dates, pineapples and durians)*; vegetables*; plants*; plant products*
 *unless you pay to have them inspected before you leave and get a ‘phytosanitary certificate’. 

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. 

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.

Banned products will need to be consumed or disposed of prior to or at the EU border. 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.


ID Cards: From 1st October 2021, changes to the government legislation will mean that most EU, EEA and Swiss national can only travel to the UK using a valid passport, unless they have applied to the EU settlement scheme or otherwise have protected right under the Citizen’s Rights Agreements. From 1st October 2021, an ID card will no longer be accepted for travel to the UK unless exempt. Find out more here.


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




Get in touch

We kindly ask that in order to gain answers to your travel queries quicker, please first consider using our Help Centre above or to find the latest sailing updates please visit our Twitter account @POferriesupdate.

If you wish to speak to an advisor regarding your booking, any amendments or cancellations you can contact us via the methods below. We thank you for your co-operation and patience at this busy time.


If you do prefer to contact us in writing, our postal adress is:

P&O Ferries
Channel House
Channel View Road
CT17 9TJ


Please send any questions or comments to: or submit an enquiry.


Contact our call centre on: 01304 44 88 88.

Opening times:

Monday - Friday - 08:00 - 18:00

Saturday - Sunday - 09:00 - 17:00.