Travelling to Europe Post-Brexit
Five steps to take before travelling to Europe
In light of Brexit, travel to Europe is a little different now that we are no longer a Member of the EU, so it’s important you plan early to make sure you have everything in place in time for your trip.
1. Check to see if your passport will still be valid
If you have a British passport, you will need to have at least three months left on your passport and your passport must have been issued within the last 10 years. If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired and extra months were added beyond its standard 10 year expiry date, be aware that any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum three months needed.
How much time you need on your passport depends on the country you’re visiting. Check the Foreign Office travel advice for the country you want to travel to – read the entry requirements section.
The passport office is currently advising that it may take up to 10 weeks for applications to be processed, so make sure you apply in good time if you do need to renew it.
2. Take out travel insurance with adequate healthcare cover
We always advise travellers to take out comprehensive travel insurance with sufficient healthcare cover, including cover for existing medical conditions and any activities you plan to do. ABTA has advice on finding the right travel insurance.
If you have a European Health Insurance Card it will be valid up to its expiry date (cards are valid for five years when issued). If you apply for a card now, you’ll get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of an EHIC. More details here.
3. Make sure you have all the documents you need to drive in Europe
UK car stickers – you will need a UK sticker for your own car when driving in the EU.
You can use your UK Blue Badge when travelling in some EU countries, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Parking concessions vary in each country so it is important you check the details for your destination. More information can be found here. Using a Blue Badge in the European Union – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Driving permits – if you have a paper licence or your driving licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man you may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some EU countries and Norway. These are available from the Post Office. If you have a card driving license, you do not require an IDP to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
4. Check your mobile phone company’s policy on data roaming
Rules around mobile data roaming have changed meaning you may face charges when using your phone abroad, including for making calls, sending messages or using the internet. Check with your mobile phone provider about their data roaming policy.
5. Business travel – check the extra requirements
There are a few extra requirements for business travellers visiting the countries in the EU as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
If you’re travelling on business, for less than 90 days in a 180-day period such as attending a business meeting, you’ll be able to travel without a visa or work permit. If you’re planning to stay for more than 180 days, you’ll need to check the entry requirements and rules for the country you’re visiting to find out if you need a visa or work permit.
If you’re travelling with goods to the EU, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got the right documentation to take them with you and if you intend to sell the goods abroad, you’ll need to make a customs declaration.
You will also need to make a declaration if you take £10,000 or more in cash with you.
Other extra requirements to check are whether your professional qualifications will be recognised in the EU, what to do if you’re earning money in the EU and providing indemnity insurance for employees. For further information, visit here.
The UK Government also has advice for people travelling to the EU.
Other things to be aware of when travelling to Europe
- If you are going on holiday you won’t need a visa for short trips to Europe. You can stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
- At border control you may need to show a return ticket and that you have enough money for your stay.
- When going through passport control you may not be able to use the EU or EEA lanes.
- Your passport will be stamped on entry and exit. This is set to become fully automated in at some point in 2022, through the new Entry/Exit system (EES) to help process travellers quickly and efficiently.
- You won’t be able to take any meat, milk or any products containing these items into the EU. There are exceptions for powdered baby milk, baby food, or pet food required for medical reasons.
- The EU is aiming to bring in a new visa waiver system, called ETIAS , by the end of 2022. This is similar to the ESTA for travel to the US and will be valid for three years. Once introduced, British passport holders travelling to the EU will need to apply for an ETIAS, via an online system.