Updated: 23rd February 2021
So, a trade deal has been struck and it means that there are changes to the way in which Brits will be able to travel within the EU. We’re here to tell you what you need to know.
This one is a little complicated but bear with us as it’s probably the most important change. If your passport still has the EU symbol on it, it is still a valid passport. The GOV.UK website shows that you’ll need six months left on your passport before travelling to an EU country. You can find the passport validity checker here. However, there are some extra bits of information that you should know.
EU countries are asking that travelling Brits have three months left on their passport on the day that they leave the EU country. This means that if you were travelling for a short three-day getaway, you could feasibly only need three months and three days left on your passport on your day of travel.
The final complication is that up until 2018, UK passports came with 10 years and an additional nine months. According to EU rules for non-member states, these passports now become defunct at the 10-year mark. This means that you will need three month’s validity upon leaving an EU country before the point at which your passport becomes ten years old.
For more information, see the GOV.UK website.
Brits who have travelled to the EU currently do not have to pay any extra on their contracts or phone packages to use their phone for messages or the internet. This is due to a ban on roaming charges within the EU. As of 1st January 2021, this ban no longer applies to Brits in the EU or EU citizens within the United Kingdom. However, the UK’s four largest phone providers have agreed that they will not be re-introducing roaming charges in 2021: these companies are EE, Three, Vodafone and O2. If you use a different mobile phone operator, be sure to contact your provider for more information on what the rules will be for you.
The European Health Insurance Card currently gives free emergency medical care to the 27 million Brits who hold one. Any EHIC cards issued prior to the end of 2020 will be valid until their expiry date. The government have announced that there will be a new scheme to replace the EHIC, the GHIC card. The GHIC card will give the same emergency and necessary healthcare cover within the EU that the EHIC cards did. Once your existing EHIC card expires, you will need to apply for a GHIC one. If you are travelling to Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland you will not be covered by the new cards. However, while this scheme is a real positive, we always recommend that travellers obtain travel insurance before travelling.
Following Brexit, British drivers will be able to continue driving in the EU on their full British driving license. Those with a paper license rather than a photocard one, and those whose driving license were issued in the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Guernsey and Jersey, will need to apply for an International Driving Permit. These can be purchased from the Post Office for £5.50.
To be insured to drive following the 31st December 2020, you will need to request a green card from your insurer. This shows that you have insurance within the EU. You will also need to display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle or trailer. Your car insurer does not need to provide the same level of insurance within the EU as they do in the UK so be sure to check their policy before travel.
Duration of Stay
Brits may visit the EU for 90 days out of every 180-day period. This can be taken all at once, or split over several trips. There will be different rules for Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria and trips here will not count towards your 90-day limit. The EU has a calculator to help you to work out how many days of travel you have left.
For more information on all of the above, please see the GOV.UK website.