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This page tells you how to prepare for travel to Europe from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.
Travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change from 1 January 2021.
Things you may need to do before you go include:
- check your passport
- get travel insurance that covers your healthcare
- check you have the right driving documents
- organise pet travel – contact your vet at least 4 months before you go
There are more things to do if you’re travelling for business. For example, going to meetings and conferences, providing services (even with a charity), and touring art or music.
Passports: check if you need to renew
You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.
On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:
- have at least 6 months left
- be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)
If you do not renew it, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
It usually takes 3 weeks if you need to renew your passport. There’s a premium service if you need it sooner.
These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.
Healthcare: check you’re covered
You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad.
From 1 January 2021 your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card might not be valid.
It’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not.
You can read advice on buying travel insurance with the right cover.
There may be changes from 1 January 2021. What these are depend on how you’re travelling.
However you travel, check before you leave for any delays or disruption.
Driving: you may need extra documents
You’ll need some extra documents from 1 January 2021.
You’ll need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some countries. Check if you need an IDP.
If you’re taking your own vehicle, you’ll also need:
- a ‘green card’ – allow 1 month to get this from your vehicle insurance company
- a GB sticker
Flights, ferries, cruises, Eurostar and Eurotunnel, bus and coach services
From 1 January 2021, the following will be able to run as before:
- ferries and cruises
- the Eurostar and Eurotunnel
- bus and coach services between the UK and the EU
If you’re flying:
- airport security procedures will not change for direct flights to and from the UK
- there should not be delays at airport security if you change flights in EU airports
However you travel, check with the company you’re travelling with for any delays or disruption before you leave.
Compensation if your travel is disrupted
Some travel insurance policies only cover certain types of disruption. Check your provider’s terms and conditions to make sure you have the cover you need if your travel is cancelled or delayed.
Your consumer rights will not change from 1 January 2021. This means that if your travel is cancelled or delayed you may be able to claim a refund or compensation. Check your booking’s terms and conditions to find out more.
Buying duty-free from 1 January 2021
Some rules will temporarily change. You’ll be able to buy duty-free tobacco and alcohol when you’re travelling to the EU:
- from ports, airports and international train stations in the UK
- on board ships, planes and trains from the UK
This guidance does not apply to bringing goods from Northern Ireland to Ireland.
Countries have different duty-free limits. Check before you travel to see how much you can take in.
Some rules are changing around the duty you’ll pay on goods you bring back from the EU from 1 January 2021.
Pet travel: allow at least 4 months to arrange
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.
Follow the guidance about pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021.
Entering other countries
Visas for short trips: you will not need one if you’re a tourist
If you’re a tourist, you will not need a visa for short trips to EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel.
Check each country’s travel advice page for information on how to get a visa or permit.
Travel to Ireland will not change from 1 January 2021. You’ll also be able to work in Ireland in the same way as before.
Border control: you may have to show your return ticket and money
At border control, you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
Mobile roaming: free roaming may end
From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end.
Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1 January 2021.
A new law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing.
Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you’re abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this.
If your travel company goes out of business
You’re protected if you buy a package holiday and the company goes out of business. You get this cover even if it’s an EU company, as long as the company targets UK customers.
Otherwise, you can claim compensation if you used your credit card. You’ll continue to be able to claim for payments between £100 and £30,000.
Other changes from 1 January 2021
You’ll need to declare cash of £10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you take it between the UK and any other country.
If you’re a business:
- you may need to make a customs declaration if you take goods with you to sell abroad or use for business
- find out what else you need to do to prepare your business during the transition period
There’s different guidance if you’re:
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