30 December 2020 by David Warne
With the UK having officially left the European Union on 31st December 2020, we’ve updated our Brexit travel guidance to give you access to the latest information on visiting Europe.
As you’re no doubt aware, from the start of 2021, travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein changed, and there are some things you’ll need to take into consideration when planning and booking your holiday.
You will be able to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.
As with all things at the moment, details can change at short notice. With that in mind, we recommend you visit the government website dedicated to post-Brexit travel for the most up-to-date information.
In summary, some important points to consider are:
- Passport validity – you’ll need at least 6 months validity on your passport and for it to be less than 10 years old on the day of travel. Please note that if you renewed your current passport before its expiry date, you may have been granted extra months on top of the usual 10-year validity. These additional months may not count towards the 6-month validity requirement for travel. You can check if your passport meets the requirements here.
- Travel insurance – EHIC health cards will remain valid for use in EU member states up to their expiry date. However, from 1st January 2021, they will no no longer be excepted in Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein. When your EHIC card expires, you will be able to apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). We recommend you obtain adequate travel insurance prior to travel to all destinations
- Driving documents – you will be able to drive in Europe with your UK driving licence and will not require an international driving permit, unless you have an old-style paper licence or your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. You must, however, display a GB sticker when driving in the EU (except Ireland) and the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). From 1st January, you will require a 'Green Card' – an official, multilingual translation of your car insurance that demonstrates you meet the minimum cover requirements for the country you're visiting. These are available from your insurance provider and you should plan to carry one for the vehicle you’re driving (plus additional for caravans) in the EU, EEA, Switzerland, Serbia, Andorra or Ireland.
- Passport lanes – UK passport holders will no longer be able to use EU-designated immigration lanes, unless otherwise indicated on arrival
- Travel for pets – You must contact your vet at least 4 months before travel
- Food & drink – Travellers will no longer be able to take some food and drink into EU countries. See the EU Commission website for details
You can also find out more information on post-Brexit travel, based on your own circumstances, by using the government's Brexit checker tool.