Travel after Brexit: The rules for Brits holidaying in Europe

Rules for Brits travelling in Europe will change from next year, as the UK leaves the EU Customs Union and Single Market on New Year’s Day 2021.

There is new advice for UK holiday-makers in Europe around passports, visas, health insurance, and driving licenses.

The Government is launching a £93 million publicity campaign to get the UK ready for Brexit.

Here, we take a closer look at the new rules and guidelines for travelling in Europe.

What documents are needed to travel?

For the rest of this year, holidays can be booked as normal, whether you are travelling by air, sea or in a bus, car, or train.

From 2021, you can still take the same holidays, but additional travel documents may be required.

Although new passport rules will apply from 2021, British people do not need to renew passports. However, you might need to renew your passport if it is about to expire – as you may need an additional 15 months on documents after the transition period ends on New Year’s Day.

Before Brexit, if you renewed your passport before it expired you could carry up to nine months over to the new passport. However, these additional nine months will no longer be valid after the transition period if heading to the EU. An additional six months will be needed on passports to travel to Schengen area countries – so some people may need an additional 15 months on their passport.

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British people are also being encouraged to check their passports, as many could have expired during lockdown. Passport renewal is also taking much longer than usual during the coronavirus pandemic.

Brits will not need a visa to get to Europe, as long as they do not stay for longer than 90 days within a 180-day period. If you are looking to stay in Europe for longer, or planning to work or study there, you may need a visa – depending on the country.

From 2021 you may also need to show proof that you have a return or onward ticket, and enough money for the trip.

Drivers with their own cars will likely need an insurance “green card” to prove they have the right cover. Depending on the country, they may also need International Drivers Permits.

Do Brits still get free mobile roaming in Europe?

Free mobile roaming on phones will no longer be guaranteed when the transition period ends. Depending on your phone company, your roaming price may increase. EE has confirmed it will not bring back mobile roaming fees after Brexit.

Do Brits still get health insurance abroad?

European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) currently give Brits state medical treatment in EU and European countries that recognise it. The treatment is free if citizens of the country also get free healthcare. EHIC cards cover pre-existing medical conditions as well as emergency care.

The Government has warned that EHIC cards may not be valid after the Brexit transition period.

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