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
The right car insurance for the country you're visiting: You also need to find out if you need an international driving permit
An animal health certificate: You need this if you're taking pets abroad
Your travel insurance policy information: Keep this 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 need to be:
- Less than 10 years old
- Have at least 6 months left on them during your trip
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 if you need it. You can carry on using your existing EHIC until it runs out. You can find the expiry date on the card.
There's no cost to apply for a GHIC. You can apply for a GHIC, and find out more them at GOV.UK.
Expert tipIt’s important not to rely 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.
Can I use my EHIC or GHIC in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein?
Yes, you can use your EHIC and GHIC if you're travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You need to make sure they're in date though.
In Switzerland to use your EHIC or GHIC you 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.
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 paper licence or are travelling to a non-EU country, you may need to get an appropriate IDP.
- If you have a photocard driving licence, you don’t need an international driving permit (IDP) for driving in the EU.
- A valid car insurance policy and proof of this. Like your Certificate of Motor Insurance.
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.
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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're going to get your money back if certain emergencies force you to cancel or end your trip early. 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, they need a tapeworm treatment.
If you’re travelling to a non-EU country, you need to fill in an export application form, and get an export health certificate.
For more information, visit GOV.UK.
Do I need to pay to travel to Europe from the UK?
No, you don't need to pay to enter Europe.
But from 2025, Brits need to apply for the European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme (ETIAS) - a visa waiver that costs €7 (£6) to get. This is 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.
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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