The UK transition out of the European Union is complete. Here’s what you need to know if you want to travel to Europe from the UK, from entry requirements to travel insurance.
What are the latest Covid rules around travel to Europe from the UK?
The success of the vaccination roll out now means it’s much easier than it was to travel throughout the European Union. However, it’s important not to be too lax, so make sure you check entry requirements before your departure date. As we have all seen, the situation can change quickly.
- If you're fully vaccinated, it’s likely that you won’t need to show evidence of a negative PCR before you travel.
- If you haven’t been fully vaccinated, you’ll likely need to show proof of a negative PCR instead.
You should be able to use your NHS Covid pass as proof of vaccination (don’t rely on an appointment card). However, it’s always worth double checking with the specific country you're travelling to.
What are the key things I need to check before I travel to Europe post- Brexit?
- Passports: find out if you need to renew
- Health insurance cards: get the lowdown on the new Global Health Insurance card
- Visas: find out if you’ll need a visa for your destination
- Driving in Europe: make sure you have the right car insurance and find out if you need an international driving permit
- Taking pets abroad: arrange an animal health certificate
- Border checks: prepare for more questions at the border
- Changes to duty free: familiarise yourself with the new allowances
- Internet and roaming charges: check the terms of your deal to avoid a painful bill
- Travel insurance: get the lowdown on the cover you need
Is my British passport still valid after Brexit?
If you’re planning a trip to places like Spain, France, Italy or Greece, you might be wondering if you need a new passport or need a certain amount of time left on them to travel.
The good news is existing British passports after Brexit are still valid - they just need to be less than 10 years old and have at least six 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.
If you need a new passport, be aware applications might take slightly longer than normal to process due to the pandemic.
What about my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?
With a few exceptions, you won’t be able to get a new EHIC. It has been replaced by the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).
You can carry on using existing EHICs until they run out. The expiry date is be shown on the card.
You can use an existing EHIC or GHIC within the EU and Switzerland. The government says more countries may be added in the future.
You can 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 hefty medical bill.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you might want to think about taking out specific pre-existing medical travel insurance.
Check your policy details or get in touch with your insurance provider for more information.
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 about driving from the UK to Europe?
If you’re planning on driving your car in Europe, you’ll need:
- A UK sticker displayed clearly on the rear of your vehicle.
- If you have a photocard driving licence, you won’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.
- Car insurance: All UK car insurance policies provide basic third-party cover for most countries in Europe and so you shouldn’t need a green card as proof of insurance. However as this is only third-party 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 do the job.
However, with so many changes, it's important to get the right level of cover for your trip. Two important things to consider when getting a policy are:
- Medical cover: You want to ensure that if you incur any medical expenses on your trip are included. Although your EHIC or GHIC provides some cover it wouldn’t get you flown home in an emergency, unlike a travel insurance policy.
- Cancellation cover: With things still uncertain during the pandemic, it’s important to know that you’ll get your money back if certain emergencies force you to cancel or cut short your trip.
So taking out travel cancellation cover could be a good idea.
Make sure you get cover for the whole family. A family travel insurance policy ensures every single member has cover, not just you.
Compare travel insurance
What else can I do to protect myself?
If you can, use a credit card to pay for the holiday
This gives you extra protection under the Consumer Credit Act. So, if the airline goes bust and your insurance policy doesn’t cover it, your credit card company could.
What do I need to know about business travel to the EU after Brexit?
Business travel to EU after Brexit shouldn’t be too complicated for most people. UK nationals are able to enter the EU for business, without a visa, so long as they aren’t going to be staying for longer than 90 days within any six month period.
Business people are be able to attend meetings, conferences and trade fairs, conduct research and participate in training. They should also be able to sign contracts.
However, they aren’t able to deliver goods, supply services or service contracts.
A visa, work permit or other documentation might be needed if:
- You're self employed and supplying services
- Carrying out contracts or supplying services in a country where your employer doesn’t have a presence
- You're participating in an ‘intra-corporate’ transfer
You can check on the government website whether you're likely to need a visa or a work permit for the specific country you're travelling to.
Taking pets abroad
Pet passports issued in Great Britain are no longer valid.
Before you go abroad, you’ll 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 travelling to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta, your dog will need tapeworm treatment.
With some exceptions, you can’t travel with more than five 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 still get free mobile internet in Europe?
You’ll no longer enjoy free mobile phone roaming as standard while on holiday within the EU.
But you’ll have to opt-in to spend over £45 on mobile internet abroad.
With high roaming charges, you could still spend up to that amount without realising it.
This means it’s vital to check your mobile roaming charges before you go.
Will there be border checks?
There’ll likely be stricter border checks, and you'll need to use a separate queue for EU travellers.
You may also need to show that you have a return ticket and enough money for your stay.
If you're carrying more than £10,000 in cash, you'll need to declare it. You can do this up to three days before you travel. For more information, visit GOV.UK.
If you don’t declare it, you could get a fine of up to £5,000.
Changes to duty free
You can still buy certain items duty free, but there’ll be limits on how much you can bring back. These limits are:
- 200 cigarettes
- 50 cigars
- 250g tobacco
- 42 litres of beer
- 18 litres of wine
- 4 litres of spirits
What UK travel documents will I need to travel in Europe after Brexit?
The only documents most of us need to travel in Europe is our passport. Although if it’s a longer stay (90 days or more) or you're working (not just visiting for a meeting) you may need a visa and or a work permit.
There are other documents it might be able to pack though such as your EHIC or GHIC cards as well as details of your travel insurance policy.
If you’re driving you’ll also need your driving licence and the UK car sticker and it’s a good idea to have details of your car insurance to hand too.
Will I need to pay to travel to Europe from the UK?
Before the end of 2022 visitors from the UK need to pay a 7 euro processing fee when they enter the EU.
What about travel to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechenstein?
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.