travel to europe for brits

How travel to Europe will change for Brits, from passports to data roaming charges

The transition period will come to an end, and the UK will leave the EU Customs Union and Single Market. travel to europe for brits

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This will mean big changes for anyone heading to Europe for a holiday, with new rules in place for tourists.

Anyone going to the EU, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Switzerland will need to be aware of the changes.

Here’s what you need to know:

Passports and visas

When you travel to the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you currently only need your passport to be valid for the length of your stay. But from 1 January, you will need to have at least six months left on your travel documents.

If your passport doesn’t have at least six months left, or if it’s older than ten years, you will not be allowed to travel. If you’re a tourist, you will not need a visa for short trips. You can stay for up to 90 days in an 180 day period.

If, however, you are travelling for business or education, or if you’re staying in the EU for a longer period of time, you may need to buy a visa.

Border control travel to europe for brits

When you arrive on your holiday, there will be extra checks at passport control. You may be asked to prove that you have a return ticket to the UK, and that you have enough money to sustain you on your holiday. It’s thought that the extra checks will add around 90 seconds per passport holder.

This means it could take up to five hours longer to process a full 737 plane of tourists.

Most airports are expected to employ extra staff to help them reduce waiting times and queues.

Health insurance

Under the current system, Brits abroad can get free or heavily discounted medical care with the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). But all EHICs will expire on 31 December 2020, leaving Brits to stump up the full cost of their medical care abroad.

You will need to ensure that you buy travel insurance that offers full medical coverage to stop bills from spiralling. While the EHIC card covers preexisting conditions, many travel insurance providers do not. You must ensure that you find a policy that covers you completely, otherwise, you could end up with a hefty bill in the event of an emergency.

Mobile roaming charges

At present, EU members can travel between other EU countries without seeing any increase in mobile costs. For a brief period, Brits could live, work and holiday abroad without having to worry about the cost of calling home. Browsing Facebook on the beach, listening to Spotify in your hotel room, watching BBC iPlayer on your terrace. No worries about data costs. No stress. No need for holiday insurance either (that’ll change too, pushing up the cost of your next holiday even further).

From 1 January this will no longer be the case, and mobile networks will be allowed to hike roaming charges if they want to. So far O2, Vodafone and Three have said they will continue to operate on the same terms – with no additional charges – but they will have the right to reintroduce costs at any time.

The government has introduced a new law that means Brits can only rack up a £45 additional mobile data charge per month before being notified.

Driving abroad travel to europe for brits

If you’re planning on driving in the EU from 2021, you may need extra documents. Some countries will require you to get an international driving permit (IDP) if you want to lease a car.

And if you’re planning on taking your own vehicle, you may also need to provide a ‘green card’ or proof of insurance and a GB sticker.

Pet passports

All pet passports issued by the UK will expire on 31 December 2020 – and taking your pet abroad is going to get complicated. If you want to take your pet to the EU, it’s recommended that you contact your vet at least four months in advance to ensure you have enough time to complete all requirements.

Your dog, cat or ferret will first need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. Then, at least 30 days after its vaccination, it will need a blood test. The blood sample will be sent to an EU-approved laboratory to be tested for rabies antibodies. This must be done at least three months before you are due to travel.

Your vet will record the date of your pet’s successful blood test on its Animal Health Certificate (AHC). To collect your pet’s AHC, you have to visit the vet 10 days before you are due to travel. You will not be able to take your pet abroad without an AHC. If you are travelling with your pet, you will have to arrive in the EU at a specified Travellers’ Point of Entry (TPE).  travel to europe for brits


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