Brexit advice for travellers
Updated 19th November 2020
Travel after 31 December 2020
Following ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK departed the EU on 31 January 2020. We are now in a transition period (also known as the ‘implementation period’) lasting until at least 31 December 2020. During this time, everything will remain the same and you can continue to travel without any changes. After 31st December 2020 the rules applicable during the transition period will no longer apply: Negotiations are ongoing to reach agreement with the EU but no conclusion has yet been reached. The following is based on the assumption that there will be no agreement. If an agreement is in fact concluded that affects any of the advice given below, we will update this page as soon as the details of the agreement and its impact on your travel arrangements are made known. Please note that the information given below applies to full British Citizen passport holders only. If you hold any other type of passport, please enquire at the consulate/embassy of your destination country well before your date of travel.
Common questions about travel after 31 December 2020
Will flights still operate?
Yes, flights will continue as normal.
Valid passports can still be used. You need to have six months left on your passport on the day that you travel to travel to the EU. Your passport also needs to be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left). The government have set up a passport checking tool which you can see here where you can check if you need to renew your passport. Please ensure that you apply for renewal, if needed, in plenty of time for your departure.
Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?
UK travellers won’t need a visa to travel to the EU Schengen countries as a tourist for up to 90 days in any 180 day period. Please note that visits to any other Schengen area country within the same 180 day period will count towards the 90 day limit. For EU non-Schengen countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Roumania)myou can still visit as a tourist for up to 90 days in any 180 day period without a visa and visits to any other EU country during the same 189 day period will not count otwards the 90 days. Please note, however, that for all EU countries, on entry you may be required to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay, and
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
and your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.
Should I take out travel insurance 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 you travel that you have adequate travel insurance which covers your specific needs, including any known medical conditions or activities you plan to do. The European Health Insurance Card will probably not be valid after 31st December 2020 so it is even more important when travelling in the EU and beyond, that you take out travel insurance and check that it covers your 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 you plan to drive in Europe, you may need an International Driving Permit for the areas you plan to drive in. You may need more than one depending on where you are visiting. Each permit costs £5.50 and is available from certain branches of the Post Office.
Find out more about getting an International Driving Permit here
Green cards for insurance
If you are driving your own car in Europe, you may need to obtain and carry a physical Green Card for your UK car insurance to be valid in the EU. These cards will be available from your car insurance provider, but you may be charged a small fee to cover administration costs.
Taking pets abroad
From 1 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. See here for further details
Rules around mobile data roaming are changing 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 before you travel to ensure that you do not incur any unexpected charges.