Here’s what you need to know if you want to travel to Europe from the UK, from entry requirements and necessary documents to travel insurance.
What documents do I need before I travel to Europe?
- Passport: Find out if you need to renew yours before you travel
- Health insurance cards: Sign up for a Global Health Insurance card
- Visas: Find out if you need a visa for your destination
- Make sure you have the right car insurance and find out if you need an international driving permit
- Arrange an animal health certificate if you're taking pets abroad
- Keep your travel insurance policy information with you in case you need to make a claim
Is my British passport still valid after Brexit?
Yes. Existing British passports after Brexit are still valid - they just need to be less than 10 years old and have at least 6 months left on them.
This change doesn’t apply when travelling to Ireland – so long as your passport is valid during your stay, you should be okay.
What's the difference between GHIC and EHIC?
The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), when the UK left the European Union.
The GHIC lets you get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes free should you need it. Its
You can carry on using your existing EHICs until they run out. The expiry date is be shown on the card.
There's no cost to apply for a GHIC. You can apply for a GHIC, and find out more about the rules surrounding who can use EHICs and GHICs and where they can be used on GOV.UK.
It’s important not to rely solely on your EHIC or GHIC card. You can only use it to access state supplied healthcare. This means that without a travel insurance policy that covers medical costs, you may still end up with a large medical bill.
What about travel to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein?
The rules around healthcare for these countries are slightly different, as they aren’t members of the EU.
In Switzerland to use your EHIC or GHIC you’ll need to demonstrate that you're a:
- British national
- Swiss national
- EU citizen
- Stateless person
- Dependent of one of the above
In Norway you can use your passport to access certain healthcare, for example emergency treatment.
If you're travelling to any of these countries, the government advises to check entry requirements before you go.
Do I need a visa to travel to Europe?
If you’re going on holiday for fewer than 90 days, you shouldn’t need a visa to travel to Europe.
What do I need if I'm driving to Europe?
If you’re planning on driving your car in Europe, you need:
- A UK sticker displayed clearly on the rear of your vehicle.
- If you have a photocard driving licence, you don’t need an international driving permit (IDP) for driving in the EU. If you have a paper licence or are travelling to a non-EU country, you may need to get an appropriate IDP.
- All UK car insurance policies provide basic third-party cover for most countries in Europe so you shouldn’t need a green card as proof of insurance. This is only third-party so you may want to discuss more comprehensive cover with your insurance company. You can find a full list of countries where you may need a green card on the government website.
What travel insurance do I need to travel to Europe from the UK?
A standard travel insurance policy for Europe should cover you while you're abroad. There are 2 main things to consider when you're looking at travel insurance for European travel:
- Medical cover: You want to ensure that medical expenses on your trip are included. Although your EHIC or GHIC provides some cover it won't get you flown home in an emergency. Travel insurance is there for this.
- Cancellation cover: It’s important to know that you’ll get your money back if certain emergencies force you to cancel or cut short your trip. Travel cancellation cover is a feature that's worth considering.
Taking pets abroad
Pet passports issued in Great Britain are no longer valid.
Before you go abroad, you need to:
- Get your pet microchipped
- Get a rabies vaccination
- Take your pet to the vet 10 days before you travel to get an Animal Health Certificate (AHC).
If you’re taking your dog to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta, it needs tapeworm treatment.
With some exceptions, you can’t travel with more than 5 pets.
If you’re travelling to a non-EU country, you’ll need to fill in an export application form, and get an export health certificate.
For more information, visit GOV.UK.
Will I need to pay to travel to Europe from the UK?
No, you don't need to pay to enter Europe.
But from 2024, Brits will need to apply for the European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme (ETIAS) - a visa waiver that costs €7 (£6) to get. This will be valid for 3 years, or until your passport expires.
Do I need to take a Covid test if I'm travelling to Europe?
Most European countries don't require a Covid test or proof of vaccination to enter from the UK. But it’s important you check entry requirements before your departure date.
You can check a country's travel requirements at gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
If you need it, you should be able to use your NHS Covid pass as proof of vaccination. But it’s always worth checking with the specific country you're travelling to.
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