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Visiting Europe from 01 January 2021
Travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change from 01 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
Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), read the advice for travelling during the pandemic before you plan your trip.
Passports: check if you need to renew
You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 01 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 your passport, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
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.
A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the EU country.
The UK has reached an agreement on healthcare when visiting the EU. You can continue to use an EHIC or get a provisional replacement certificate (PRC) if you need treatment and don't have a card.
If you apply for a card now, you'll get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of an EHIC. These pages and the application portal will still refer to EHIC until 4 January 2021. You do not need to apply for a GHIC if you already have an EHIC. Your EHIC remains valid in the EU until it expires.
From 1 January 2021, GHICs and most UK EHICs will not cover you in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. If you’re visiting those countries, make sure you have travel insurance with health cover and check the GOV.UK travel advice
Entering other countries
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
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 most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total.
Travel to Ireland will not change from 01 January 2021. You’ll also be able to work in Ireland in the same way as before.
Taking food and drink into EU countries
You will not be able to take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries from 01 January 2021.
There are some exceptions, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.
Taking plants and plant products into EU countries
You’ll need a certificate to take certain plants and plant products into EU countries from 01 January 2021. Check the rules about taking plants and plant products into the EU on the European Commission website.
There may be changes from 01 January 2021. What these are depend on how you’re travelling.
You may need extra documents from 1 January 2021.
If you’re taking your own vehicle, you will need a green card and a GB sticker. You should also take your vehicle’s Registration Certificate (V5C).
You might also need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have:
• a paper driving licence
• a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man
• Check with the embassy of the country you will be driving in.
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 01 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.
Pet travel: allow at least 1 month to arrange
From 1 January 2021 you will not be able to 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.
Mobile roaming: free roaming may end
From 01 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 01 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.
Duty Free Allowance
How much you can bring depends on the type of drink. You can bring in both:
• beer - 42 litres
• wine (not sparkling) - 18 litres
You can also bring in either:
• spirits and other liquors over 22% alcohol - 4 litres
• fortified wine (for example port, sherry), sparkling wine and alcoholic drinks up to 22% alcohol - 9 litres
You can split this last allowance, for example you could bring 4.5 litres of fortified wine and 2 litres of spirits (both half of your allowance).
You will have to pay excise duty and VAT on alcohol you declare. You may also have to pay customs duty.
You can bring in one from the following:
• 200 cigarettes
• 100 cigarillos
• 50 cigars
• 250g tobacco
• 200 sticks of tobacco for heating
You can split this allowance - for example you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars (both half of your allowance).
You will have to pay excise duty, VAT and customs duty on tobacco you declare.