Travelling to Europe After Brexit

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View our Brexit FAQs.

Now that the UK has left the European Union with a deal on how we will live, work and trade together, we share advice on what it means for people planning to travel to mainland Europe after Brexit for tent, caravan and motorhome holidays.

Passport and visa

Check your passport. It must be valid for at least six months from your first day of travel. Any extra months on your passport over ten years may not count towards the six months. Your port of entry may put a wet stamp in your passport to confirm when you arrive. You can complete a short questionnaire on the government website to check if you need to renew your passport before travelling to Europe.

You will not need a visa for visits of 90 days in any 180-day period. If you are planning to stay beyond 90 days you will need to check each country’s specific visa entry requirements. You can do this online.

In general, once you have arrived in an EU state and been through border control you should be able to travel freely between other EU states.

Driving licence

International Driving Permits (IDP) will not be needed for the majority. However, if your driving licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man or you have a paper licence you may still need a valid IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway from 1 January 2021. Do check the government website for each country’s requirements. IDP are available from most post offices.

Green card for car and trailer insurance

A car insurance policy would cover your trailer (third party only) alongside the towing vehicle in the UK. You must have informed your insurer of the installation of a towbar and display the same registration plate on your trailer as is on the towing vehicle. A green card proves your UK insurance is valid in the EU and is available from your car insurer. In addition to the car’s green card, any towed trailer will need a separate one which will also come from your car’s insurer. You will need to provide your trailer’s chassis number to get this.

It’s also worth checking your insurance policy will cover you while travelling around Europe in the same way as it does in the UK or if there are any restrictions. Head to the government website for more information.

Travel and health insurance

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid until its expiry date. There are different rules for Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. See here for details.

You can apply for the new UK’s Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) and both will be valid in the EU. The GHIC is free and can be applied for here.

These Health insurance cards do not replace good travel insurance. We recommend you take out adequate cover for your travel and health needs including any pre-existing medical conditions your party may have or exclusions like Covid-19 related issues. You have the same consumer rights as before Brexit and you are protected if your package holiday provider goes bust as long as the holiday was sold in the UK.

You can find more travel advice here.

Rules on pets

The EU have listed Great Britain as Part 2 status for pet travel. From the 1 January, Northern Ireland will be treated the same as if going to the EU until a permanent solution is sorted. From 22 December, you will be able to apply for the animal health certificate (AHC) from an Official Vet (OV). This confirms that your pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, similar to the pet passport requirement which will be no longer valid for the UK after 31 December.

Extra tapeworm treatments are required for travel to Northern and the Republic of Ireland, Finland, Norway and Malta. A new certificate will be required each time you travel with your pet and you must obtain this no more than 10 days before you travel across the border. However, the government is advising pet owners visit their vet one month before travel.

The AHC is valid for four months, for a single trip into the EU, onward travel within the EU and for entry back into Great Britain. Only certain approved routes are allowed for travel with pets so do check these with your travel operator. These rules apply to guide dogs as well. Those travelling from the EU to the UK will still benefit from the pet passport scheme.

Check the government website for more information and updates.

Taking food and drink to the EU

Milk or meat-based products (products of an animal origin) will need to be used, consumed or disposed of before passing the EU border control point as these products are banned without the required paperwork. There are certain exemptions such as infant foods. These are the same rules the UK applies to non-EU countries currently.

You can read more here. Where you can also check restrictions on taking plants and plant products, including fruit and vegetables, to the EU.

Duty Free

Travellers won’t be able to bring unlimited amounts of alcohol, tobacco and other goods back into the UK. However, the good news is you will be entitled to the same duty-free allowances as if going to non-EU countries. If you intend to bring larger than the allowance back, you can declare these in the red channel at the border or use the new online declaration service available from the 1 January and travel via the green channel.

Check the government website for details.

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Check the list below as you may need any or all of these for an upcoming continental trip.

  • Return tickets
  • Emission zone certificates, as needed (See section on Emission Zones below)
  • Proof of ownership documents

You may also need to present proof that you have sufficient funds to enable you to return to the UK. On arrival at the EU border control you may need to show a return ticket (crossing ticket), proof of prepaid accommodation (campsite bookings) and any additional transport costs (fuel, tolls etc) or enough funds for the duration of your stay to cover all these activities, this maybe via a bank/credit card statement or cash. Information may be listed on the government travel advice page for your destination country here, under visa information in the “entry requirements” section. In addition, this EU document may give guidance for EU countries.

Expect delays

Whatever happens, it is likely more paperwork will need to be checked than has been done recently, so delays are likely. You will probably also need to use the non-EU lanes at ports. Take advice from your travel operator on how long you should allow for this.

GB sticker

The EU-style GB badge on a number plate will no longer be valid from 1 January 2021. A separate sticker will be required for rear of your car and any towed trailers. Head to the government website for more information.

Parking with a Blue Badge in the EU

This government website provides additional information for holders of Blue Badges, which are used by people with disabilities for parking, and the countries in which the scheme is recognised.

Emission Zones

Most European countries have low emission zones. If you intend to pass through them you will need the correct label for your vehicle and abide by any local restrictions. Details of the current zones can be found here.

Travel to the Republic of Ireland

There are certain exceptions for those travelling between the UK and Ireland. You will not need a GB sticker and normal passport validity applies, for example, so it’s worth checking the requirements before travel.

Mobile roaming in the EU

The UK has legislated that if you build up mobile phone charges of £45 while roaming abroad you will be required to opt-in for additional charges to carry on using your devices plan. Check with your operator for details.

For more information on visiting the EU after 1 January 2021 head to the government website.