First, when do the changes come into effect?
“The changes are already in place. Although we can’t travel right now due to lockdown restrictions, the change came into effect on 1st January 2021. This means that if you’re travelling to Europe, (specifically the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Lichtenstein) there are a few rules you need to know.” – Nicky Kelvin, director of content at The Points Guy
Will you need a new passport?
“Not necessarily. You can continue to use your current passport until it’s expiry date, providing it has been issued within the last ten years and has at least six months left on it. All new or renewed passports will now be blue.” – Nicky
Will you need a VISA to visit the EU?
“If you’re going on holiday, you do not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. However, different rules apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, so you’ll need to check the entry requirements before travelling. You might also need a visa to stay for a longer period of time, or if you plan to work or study abroad. One important thing to note is that you will have to apply for a ‘visa-waiver’ for €7 (£6.28), which will be issued under the 'European Travel Information and Authorisation System'. It will last for three years before you have to renew it.” – Tom Harding, founder of Nemo Travel
Is there a limit to how many times you can go away in a year?
“Thankfully no, but you’ll only be allowed to go on holiday for up to 90 days at a time (in a 180-day period).” – Nicky
Are EHIC cards still valid?
“All EHIC cards issued before the end of 2020 will be valid until their expiry date. From 2021, the government has announced the launch of the GHIC card, which offers equivalent protection for emergency and medically necessary healthcare needs when in the EU on a temporary stay, which includes holidays, studying aboard and business travel. You’ll only need to apply for their free GHIC cards when your current EHIC expires. The process is likely to take two weeks.” – Nicky