Please find below the current advice for travel to the EU provided by The Travel Network Group.
Brexit - Advice for travellers
Parliament ratified the Withdrawal Agreement and the UK entered a transition period from 31 January 2020. This means that everything will remain the same and holidaymakers / travellers can continue to travel as they do now until at least the end of December 2020.
Now, with less than 6 months until the end of the Brexit transition period, it is important to provide the best advice with regards to Brexit and the new rules to travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein from 1st January 2021.
Travelling to Europe BEFORE 31st December 2020
Will flights still operate?
Yes. If a deal is agreed then we will be in a transition period, meaning everything will stay the same until the end of December 2020 and flights will continue as normal.
Will ferries and cruise ships still sail?
Ferry services and cruises will still sail as in any case the majority of the rules under which they operate are not based on EU rules and are international.
How will coach operators operate?
Coaches will still be able to travel to and from the EU, and around EU countries as usual.
Will trains from the UK to the EU still operate?
Trains from the UK to the EU will continue to operate as usual.
Will customers need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?
No. UK travellers won’t need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit.
Should travel insurance be taken out to cover Brexit?
The best way to protect your holiday is to book a package – it is then the travel provider’s responsibility to make sure your holiday is provided and to offer an alternative or refund if it cannot be delivered.
It is important that whenever and wherever customers’ travel that they have adequate travel insurance which covers their specific needs, including any known medical conditions or activities they plan to do.
Valid passports can still be used. Please check a passport for travel to Europe, by clicking on this link.
European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. In the event of a Brexit deal, UK registered EHICs will still be valid throughout 2020.
We always advise holidaymakers to make sure they have appropriate travel insurance, whether they have an EHIC card or not, as there are limitations to EHIC.
When travelling in the EU and beyond, it is important that holidaymakers and travellers take out travel insurance and check that it covers their current circumstances, including any medical conditions. If a customer has an annual policy, make sure you / they check the Terms and Conditions and contact their insurance provider if there are areas of uncertainty.
Travelling to Europe AFTER 1st January 2021
Do I need to renew my passport?
If you’re travelling to the EU from 1st January 2021, you may need to renew your passport earlier, as it will need to be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left) and it will need to have at least 6 months left validity.
These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.
If your passport is burgundy or has ‘European Union’ on the cover, you can continue to use it until it expires.
Due to the current challenges of Covid-19, the waiting time for processing passport renewals is longer than 3 weeks, so please allow sufficient time for the application. To renew a passport, please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/renew-adult-passport/renew
Will I need a VISA to travel into the EU?
If you’re a tourist, you will not need a visa for short trips to EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Brussels has said that British visitors will be visa-exempt ‘third-country nationals’ initially, which means that there’s no need for an application in advance. But within a couple of years, British citizens will be subject to the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which the EU is working to impose no later than 2022. To read more about this visa scheme, please follow this link: https://www.etiaseurope.eu/
At border control in the EU, you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
If I want to drive to EU countries, will I need to get another driving licence?
A British driving licence will continue to be classed as a Europe-wide permit until the end of 2020. After that, it is possible that some EU countries will insist on an International Driving Permit.
Full details about International Driving Permits, including what permit you need for each country can be found by clicking here: https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad/international-driving-permit.
There are a number of different permits available for different countries within the EU, so you should check carefully which permit is required for each country you intend to drive within, as you may need more than one permit to comply with the law.
If required, International Driving Permits cost £5.50 and are available directly from the Post Office.
The Government is also advising that you will need a GB sticker for your car when driving in the EU after Brexit. If you’re taking your own vehicle, you might also need a ‘green card’ – a certificate extending the travel insurance to the minimum legal requirements in EU countries, which will be provided by the car insurance company.
Will I still get free health care?
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. Your EHIC will be valid up to 31st December 2020.
The Travel Network Group has always advised holidaymakers to make sure they have appropriate travel insurance, whether they have an EHIC card or not, as there are limitations to EHIC.
When travelling in the EU and beyond, it is important travellers take out travel insurance and check that it covers their current circumstances, including any medical conditions. If you have an annual policy, make sure you check the Terms and Conditions and contact your insurance provider if you’re not sure.
If I already have travel insurance in place, will this cease to be valid after 1st January 2021?
Some travel insurance policies only cover certain types of disruption. Check your provider’s terms and conditions to make sure you have the cover you need if your travel is cancelled or delayed.
Your consumer rights will not change from 1 January 2021. This means that if your travel is cancelled or delayed you may be able to claim a refund or compensation. Check your booking’s terms and conditions to find out more.
What are the new rules with regards to mobile roaming?
Under EU rules, the cost of making calls, sending messages or using the internet on your phone in the EU is the same in the UK. If the UK leaves without a deal these rules will no longer apply – however, some UK companies have said they may continue to offer this benefit to their customers. Before travel, holidaymakers should check with their mobile phone provider about the costs of using their phone in the EU.
A new law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing. Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you’re abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this.
What are the new rules on taking my pet abroad?
From 1st January 2021 you will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead you’ll need to follow a different process, which takes 4 months. To see the full guidance on pet travel to Europe from 1st January 2021, please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit.