What does Brexit mean for EU travel?
From 1 January 2021, you’ll need to make a few extra checks before you leave home if you’re travelling to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
On the date you travel, your passport must:
- have at least 6 months left
- be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)
This may mean that you need to renew your passport early.
These rules don’t apply to travel to Ireland, where you can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.
Be aware that you can’t use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead, you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) for your pet. Allow at least 1 month to arrange this and relevant vaccinations. Check the gov.uk guidance ‘Taking your pet dog, cat or ferret abroad’.
Tourists don’t need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
NB Visits to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania (non-Schengen Area) do not count towards the 90-day total.
You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel. You should check the gov.uk website for information in these cases.
You can travel to and work in Ireland in the same way as before 1 January 2021.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you already have an EHIC, it is still valid until its expiry date, unless you’re travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (see below).
UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
If your EHIC has expired, you can now apply for the new GHIC which entitles you state-provided healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. The GHIC is valid if you’re travelling to an EU country but not for Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (see below).
Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
Neither the EHIC* nor the new GHIC are valid for travel to these countries and you’ll need to arrange separate healthcare cover.
*Exceptions apply for certain UK nationals living in the EU and vice versa. You should check the gov.uk website if you are in these categories.
You can use a UK passport to get medically necessary healthcare in Norway (for example emergency treatment, or to treat a pre-existing condition).
Before you travel, check that you have appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover which covers your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property. The EHIC is not valid on cruises.
If you are thinking of travelling to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have any queries, please contact the friendly team at Mondial Travel. Our aim is to ensure you have the information you need for a safe, stress-free journey. You may also be interested in our article: ‘Brexit Update: During Your Stay’.