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What you need to know about travelling abroad after Brexit

After months of uncertainty, we are now living in a post-Brexit UK. But what does that mean for travelling to your favourite European destinations? Well, the good news is that you don’t have to worry about that quite yet.

The UK is now in a transition period, meaning that nothing will change between now and 31 December 2020. However, from 1 January 2021, you can expect a few new rules.

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Let’s break down everything you need to know about travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein once the transition period ends.


One of the biggest questions is whether or not you will need a visa to travel in Europe after Brexit is finalised. The simple answer is no.

From 1 January 2021, if you are a tourist on a short trip to Europe, there will be no requirement to get a visa. You will be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

However, you may need a visa or permit to stay for longer than 180 days for work, study, or business travel.

Border control

One area of confusion could be which line you will join when you arrive at your destination’s airport. While Brits are used to swanning in via the EU citizens queue, from 1 January 2021 this will no longer be the case. Expect to use a separate lane from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. 

The only other change to border control is that you may be required to show a return or onward ticket. You may also have to show that you have enough money to fund your stay.


There will be few changes to passport regulations for travel within Europe post-Brexit. You will need to make sure you have at least six months left on your passport and that it is less than 10 years old.

It’s best to check whether you will need to renew your passport before you book your travel plans. Passport renewals typically take up to three weeks.


One of the biggest changes post-Brexit is that your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid. From 1 January 2021, it will be important to make sure you have travel insurance with the right cover for you and your family.

Under the EHIC scheme, pre-existing conditions were covered, but this is not always the case with travel insurance policies. Try to be honest when getting a quote for travel insurance and be realistic about what your liability might be.


You will still be able to pop your car onto a ferry, cross the channel and head off on your European road trip. There are just a few bits of paperwork you’ll need to sort out beforehand.

While none of this has been confirmed yet, the likelihood is that from 1 January 2021, you will need to carry extra documents when driving in Europe. You may need to get an International Driving Permit for some countries. You can buy one at Post Offices for £5.50.

If you plan to drive your own vehicle, you may need a green card (a document that acts as proof of insurance) or valid proof of insurance. You’ll also need to slap a GB sticker on the bumper of your car.


From 1 January 2021, you will no longer be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. What scheme you will need to complete will depend on whether the UK becomes a ‘listed country’.

Under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, there are three categories of countries not in the EU: Unlisted, Part 1 listed and Part 2 listed. Which category the UK ends up in will determine the specific travel requirements for your pet.

The key takeaway here is that no matter what the process looks like, it will likely take around four months.

Mobile roaming

Gone will be the days of uploading every moment of your European holiday free of charge in order to inspire FOMO amongst your Instagram followers.

From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile roaming will end. Instead, you will need to check with your mobile phone provider to find out what your roaming charges will be.

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