Oooo so what’s the tea about this SLOW burn that is Brexit? So, if you didn’t know, the UK left the EU at 11pm on the 31st of January 2020. On this day, we were no longer a part of the European Union and entered a transition period. Take a look below for some answers on how Brexit will affect travel going forward.
Disclaimer: I’m not into politics too tough but I am interested in how Brexit will affect my ability to travel easily. So, for more detailed info on the other ways Brexit will affect you, please go to the Government Website. Alright? Okay? Let’s get into it!
So what exactly happens from the 1st of January 2021?
After we (The UK), well not me because I voted remain lol leave the EU finally on the 31st of December 2020, we will be leaving the one year transition period. An extension of the transition period has not been agreed so from 1 January 2021, the UK wil have officially left the EU, we out! Many aspects of the UK and the EU’s future relationship are still uncertain – but we do know some things will change from the 1st of January.
Will my passport be valid after Brexit?
You WILL need to renew your British passport for travel after Brexit if:
- It has less than 6 months left or
- It’s older than 10yrs (even if it has 6 months or more left on the passport)
If your passport is either of the above or both, you will need to renew it before travel or you won’t be able to travel to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. So, please check your passports before travel, unless you’re feeling like wasting your money lol.
There’s also a tool on the government’s website to check if your passport is valid for the country you’re visiting. Travel to Ireland won’t be affected. You don’t need to check all these as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.
Conversely, the British government announced that for European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland citizens, identity cards will not be accepted for entry to the U.K. from October 2021.
Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?
Short answer, No. You won’t need a visa to travel to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland for short stays as a tourist. You should be able to stay in European countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. If you visit Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, different rules apply and visits to these countries won’t count towards your 90-day allowance.
For example, a four-day weekend in Malta at Easter, followed by a 2 weeks in Portugal in June, would count as 18 days towards your 90-day limit. However, you might need a permit to stay longer or to be able to work or study. The best thing to do is check your destination travel advice page for information before you travel.
The European Union has a really useful online “short-stay visa calculator” to help check how much visa free time you have left.
However, from 2022 UK citizens visiting the EU will need to pay €7 for the European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme (ETIAS). This will be able bought online before travel when the time comes and will last for 3 years or until your registered travel document expires whichever comes first. If you’ve travelled to the US, it’s similar to the ESTA scheme UK citizens use for entry there.
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I’ve got a holiday after the 1st of January 2021, what’s going to happen to it?
Flights to the EU should continue as planned and travellers will still be able to travel to Europe (Coronavirus permitting). If you are planning to travel after 1 January 2021, you should start thinking about any extra steps you may need to take now to be ready for your trip. All the information is available here.
What will change at Airport Security/Immigration?
After the 1st of January 2021, we will need to join the ‘Non EU, EEA or Swiss’ queues, and security screening should remain unchanged.
If you’re flying from the UK and transferring through an EU airport, there will be no extra security screening measures.
However, passing through border control could take longer because you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay/proof of funds
- have hotel booking or confirmation of accommodation
Customs regulation changes mean that Brits carrying £10,000 or more will have to declare it. The same applies for any goods intended to be sold or used for business.
Will Eurostar journeys be affected?
From January 1st 2021, Brits will no longer get to use the EU passport queue at train stations. Not the biggest blow but the tous passports queue tends to be longer. So if you have a tight connection it’s something you’ll need to bear in mind. French customs officials have also warned that there could be longer queues on arrival due to required extra passport and customs checks, and an expanded waiting area has been created for arrivals from the UK.
In addition, travellers will have to declare any goods worth more than €450 or risk a fine. There will also be limits on the amount of alcohol that can be brought into the UK from the EU. Do check online for the latest Eurostar and Eurotunnel travel information before you leave for the station.
Will I still be compensated for airline delays?
We will continue to be entitled to assistance or compensation in the event of flight delays or cancellations.
The Department for Transport has confirmed anyone on a flight from the UK will have the same passenger rights that apply today, even after the transition.
What about Brexit affecting mobile roaming/data charges?
Until the end of the transition period we will continue to enjoy using our UK mobile phone allowance for data and calls in the EU as we would in the UK.
However, from 1 January 2021, we will no longer have guaranteed free mobile phone roaming in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. UK mobile operators have said they’ve no plans to change mobile roaming policies in 2021. We’ll see.
A new law will mean that we will be protected from getting mobile data charges over £45 without consent. Once you reach £45, you will have to opt in to spend more while abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this.
Will my EHIC card still be valid after Brexit?
We’ve enjoyed sharing health care entitlements with locals when visiting Europe using the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), even with pre-existing conditions. Good news! From the 1st January 2021, if you have an existing EHIC it will continue to be valid until it expires.
If you don’t have an EHIC, you can apply for the new FREE Global Heath Insurance Card (GHIC) which works like an EHIC but won’t be valid in Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
As always, make sure that you have adequate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you travel. Neither card replaces travel insurance as they do not cover everything, such as emergency rescue or being flown back to the UK for treatment
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Will Brexit affect driving in Europe?
From 2021, most UK drivers will still be able to use normal driving licence to drive in the EU. You might need to purchase an International Driving Permit (IDP). This applies if you have a paper licence (not a photocard one) and if your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. It costs £5.50 and you can get one from your nearest Post Office branch offering that service. Make sure you have the right IDP for the EU country you are travelling in – check the GOV.UK website.
If you’re taking your own UK registered car, you’ll also need a ‘Green Card’ and display a GB sticker on the back of your car. All of these don’t apply to driving in Ireland.
If you’re hiring a car in the UK to drive to the EU, you’ll need a VE103 certificate to prove you’re allowed to drive it abroad. You can get one through either RAC Motoring Services or the BVRLA. If you’re hiring a car when you get to Europe, the rental company could ask to see a digital record of your driving license. Get a free license check code from the DVLA’s website up to 21 days before your trip.
Can I still travel with my pet to the EU Post Brexit?
Short answer, yes. BUT it looks like a different and longer process. Pet travel within the EU is allowed providing the owners get an Animal Health Certificate (AHC). Your dog, cat or ferret must be to get a AHC:
- Vaccinated against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated. You must wait 21 days after vaccination before travel;
- Have tapeworm treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta. The treatment must have been given 1 to 5 days before arrival.
You will need to get a new AHC each time you travel with your pet and you must obtain it no more than 10 days before you travel. The AHC is valid for four months, for a single trip into the EU, onward travel within the EU and for re-entry to Great Britain. The certificate will be issued by your vet. As long as you keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up to date, you will not need to get repeat vaccinations for repeat trips to the EU or NI. These rules apply to guide dogs too.
On arrival to the EU, you will also need to ensure you’re entering through a designated travellers’ point of entry, listed on the EU website here.
How will Brexit affect travel duty free shopping?
From January 2021, British travellers going to EU countries will be able to take advantage of duty-free shopping. This means that we will now be able to buy duty-free alcohol and tobacco , where available, in British ports, airports, and Eurostar stations, and aboard ships, trains and planes. Duty-free sales of clothing, electronics, bags and fragrances will be removed.
The amount of tobacco and alcohol that you’ll be able to bring back from the non-EU countries will also increase, providing one of the most generous allowances in the world. You’ll be able to bring back up to 42 litres of beer, 18 litres of still wine and four litres of spirits or 9 litres of sparkling wine or similar of less than 22% ABV.
Duty-free shopping will also be more restricted for tourists and foreign nationals leaving the UK. Overseas visitors will still be able to shop VAT-free in store and have their items sent directly to their overseas addresses. However, claiming VAT on items that have already been purchased, during their trip, will no longer be available at airports, ports and Eurostar stations.
I hope this post has helped answer some your questions regarding how Brexit will affect travel going forward. I’ll be updating this post with new or current information as and when they become available so check back!
For more detailed information a good place to start is the GOV.UK dedicated Brexit page. The European Commission Website also has information about Brexit.
Until Next Time, don’t let Brexit get you down!
Great guide Bisola and really needed on this time for those less clued up x
Thank you so much Tayo! Even I learnt a lot through researching for the post, glad you found it useful!
It was so interesting to read Bisola! I am not from the UK, but I am French so for me there is also an. impact on the way I will be able to travel to the UK!
Indeed there will be, thank you! Glad you found it useful
It’s a bummer with the Brexit and the current pandemic…especially with all those administrative and regulatory changes! I think your post will be useful for Brits and other tourists like me hoping to visit the UK next year hopefully!
so many changes, especially for businesses, can’t even imagine the amount of paper work! Yes indeed, Brexit may change the way tourists also visit the UK
There are so many stories about Brexit right now, so it’s really great to be able to read a post that covers everything for once!
I’m glad you found this post helpful!