This is how travel to the EU will change post-Brexit

Laura Hampson
·4-min read
Travel rules for Brits visiting the EU will change in 2021 (Getty)
Travel rules for Brits visiting the EU will change in 2021 (Getty)

While 2020 has been an unprecedented year for travel, with the Brexit transition ending on December 31 there will be new rules for Brits wanting to travel to Europe in the new year.

Travel to the EU nations (including beloved Brit favourites, France Spain, Greece and Italy) will change along with travel to some non-EU states - Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Most importantly, you’ll need to check the expiration date on your passport to make sure that it’s valid for the next six months.

Read more: This British travel company is giving away free flights for 2021 holidays

Travellers will also need to plan four months ahead (at least) if they want to take their pets on holiday and those renting a car in the EU could be in need of some additional documents, too.

Read on to see how travel to the EU will change in 2021.

Passports

If your passport has less than six months left on it or if it's more than 10 years old, you’ll need to look into renewing it before travelling to countries in the EU as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Sweden next year.

The government has an easy checker to see if your passport will be valid - you can find this here.

For those travelling to Ireland, it should be noted that your passport does not need to be renewed if there is less than six months on it, as long it’s valid for the entirety of your stay.

You'll need to have at least six months left on your passport to visit Iceland (Getty)
You'll need to have at least six months left on your passport to visit Iceland (Getty)

Healthcare

The government advises always getting appropriate travel insurance with healthcare included before you travel. Travel insurance is essential to making sure you are covered for all possibilities, from medical insurance to a cancelled trip and loss of possessions.

Read more: Iceland announces quarantine-free travel if you’ve had COVID-19

For those who have European Health Insurance Cards, these will be valid up until December 31, 2020.

In 2021, the government advises making sure you have the correct healthcare cover that includes all your needs when travelling to the EU - particularly if you have a pre-existing health condition.

Border control

While EU borders have generally been a breeze for those with British passports to go through, now we will have to line up in the ‘other countries’ passport lane.

The government says that some EU borders may require you to show a return or an onward ticket and prove you have enough money for your stay.

Visa-wise, you won’t need one if you’re a tourist visiting the EU with a British passport, which will allow you to stay in EU countries - as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland - for up to 90 days during a 180-day period.

You won’t need a visa if you’re a tourist visiting the EU with a British passport (Getty)
You won’t need a visa if you’re a tourist visiting the EU with a British passport (Getty)

Information on gov.uk adds: “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.”

If you are travelling for business, or for work or study, you may need a visa or permit to stay longer but this will vary from country to country.

Again, travel to Ireland will not change and Brits will be able to work in Ireland the same way as before.

Driving

From 2021, those travelling with British driving licences may need an international driving permit for some EU countries (it will vary from country to country so it’s best to check before you go if you’re planning on renting a car).

For those taking their own car to the EU, you will need a ‘green card’ and a GB sticker.

Pet travel

From 2021, travellers to the EU will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme - and the different process takes four months.

Read more: The most popular destinations for a Christmas getaway in the UK for 2020, according to TripAdvisor

If you are planning on travelling with your pet, you will need to contact your vet at least four months before traveling to get the latest advice.

For more information on travelling with pets, visit gov.uk/pet-travel-to-europe-from-1-january-2021

Mobile roaming

While we’ve definitely taken free mobile roaming in the EU for granted up until now, we may start having to pay extra for the data we use.

Check with your phone plan provider before travelling as this will vary depending on the provider.

However, there’s a new law that means Brits are protected from getting data charges above £45 without their knowledge. Once you reach this amount, your phone operator will ask you to opt in to spend more.

To find out more about how travel will change post-Brexit, visit gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021

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