Travel

Stress-free guide to visiting Europe after Brexit – from passports to driving abroad


WITH all the uncertainty creat­ed by the coronavirus pandemic over the last few months, many travellers could be forgiven for not having thought about the impact of Brexit.

But come January 1, there are a raft of changes that any Brit travelling to Europe MUST consider.

With the Brexit transition period coming to an end in just a few months, we look at everything to check if heading to any EU country from January 1

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With the Brexit transition period coming to an end in just a few months, we look at everything to check if heading to any EU country from January 1

During this year’s transition period, nothing has changed but things will be very different when we officially leave and it pays to be prepared as we exit the EU’s single market and free-movement zone.

And with the big break just months away, today we look at everything to check if heading to any EU country next year.

PASSPORTS

THE EU burgundy passports will still be valid but for yours to work from January 1, you may need an extra 15 months before it expires.

You can currently travel to the EU until the day your passport expires.

EU burgundy passports will still be valid but for yours to work from January 1, you may need an extra 15 months before it expires

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EU burgundy passports will still be valid but for yours to work from January 1, you may need an extra 15 months before it expiresCredit: Getty – Contributor

Previously, Brits could carry over up to nine months to a new passport if they renewed it before it expired, meaning a new one could be valid for a maximum of 10 years and nine months.

However, these additional nine months will now not be valid if heading to the EU, and with travellers also then needing an additional six months on passports to be able to travel, this results in an extra 15 months needed on the passport.

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The government has a passport checker on its website to help people find out if their passport will need to be renewed — see gov.uk/check-a-passport-travel-europe-1-january-2021

DRIVING ABROAD

MILLIONS of us travel by Euro­tunnel or ferry to France, Spain and beyond every year but from 2021, you will need to get an International Driving Permit to drive in the EU.

This almost-archaic grey paper document costs £5.50 and can be picked up at your local Post Office.

Millions of Brits planning to drive in Europe will need to get hold of an International Driving Permit

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Millions of Brits planning to drive in Europe will need to get hold of an International Driving PermitCredit: Alamy

Make sure you check which one is required by the country you are visiting as there are two types.

For example, if you are planning to drive in Spain and France on one trip, you will need both, at a cost of £11.

You will also need one if you are planning to hire a car in Europe.

Brits living in the EU and driving on their UK drivers licence will need to swap over for a local licence before December 31, 2020.

All drivers will also need a Green Card from their insurance company. These are usually free but can take up to a month to process. They ­usually last up to 90 days.

You may also need a GB sticker if your number plate currently has an EU flag on it — or you can swap to a number plate that has a GB sign and not the EU flag.

TRAVELLING WITH PETS

PET owners need to start preparing NOW if they plan on taking their four-legged pals away from January, because the process can take at least four months.

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Taking your pet to Europe in 2021... then start preparing NOW

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Taking your pet to Europe in 2021… then start preparing NOWCredit: Getty – Contributor

Just what will be required depends on whether we leave in January without a deal. If we do, the UK will be classified as an unlisted country and pet owners will need to:

  • Have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped.
  • Vaccinate your pet against rabies.
  • Have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after the primary rabies ­vaccination.
  • Send the test to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
  • Wait three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you travel.
  • Travel with an animal health certificate from your vet detailing the day the blood sample was taken and proof of your pet’s microchipping date, vaccination history and successful rabies antibody blood test result.

Take your pet to the vet to get this certificate no more than ten days before you travel.

You will need a new health certificate for each trip to the EU.

Call the pet travel helpline for more help and details on 0370 241 1710 or email pettravel@apha.gov.uk

MOBILE PHONE ROAMING

MOBILE roaming charges will depend on your network, but most of the big providers have said they will continue to offer free roaming.

It depends on your provider, but most Brits can expect roaming to remain free in Europe from January

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It depends on your provider, but most Brits can expect roaming to remain free in Europe from JanuaryCredit: iStockphoto – Getty

EE, Vodafone, Three Mobile and O2 have all confirmed to The Sun that they have no current plans to reintroduce roaming charges.

Brits on other networks should still check with their phone company for any extra charges.

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