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
If you become ill on holiday, will you still be entitled to emergency care?
“Under Britain’s post-Brexit agreement with the EU, UK residents’ rights to emergency and medically necessary healthcare will continue when travelling in the EU. This includes medically necessary treatment for a pre-existing or chronic condition. However, you’ll still need to take out adequate travel insurance and healthcare cover.” – Nicky
Will there be a different queue at passport control?
“In EU countries, UK passport holders will no longer be able to use EU lanes, unless special arrangements are agreed first. At border control, you may also be asked to provide certain information, such as where you are staying, proof of your return trip, and proof that you have sufficient funds for travel. Make sure you’re prepared with all this information to speed up the arrivals process.” – Nicky
Will you be able to drive and hire a car?
“If you’re taking your own vehicle, you will need a special green card (a type of vehicle insurance) and a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle. You’ll also need to bring your driving license with details of your insurance, and a V5C logbook.” – Tom
Can you still travel on the Eurostar?
“Yes, the only difference will be extra checks at passport control.” – Tom
If you want to bring your pet on holiday, is their passport still valid?
“Unfortunately, the current pet passports are no longer valid. Instead, you’ll need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) which can be issued by your vet. You pet must also be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, and received treatment for tapeworm one to five days before arrival in certain countries.”
If you use your phone abroad, will you face extra roaming charges?
“Free EU roaming may end, but it’s not clear yet. While some companies have said they will keep their ‘roaming free’ service for customers, the current rules around this may change, so it’s worth checking with your provider before you go on holiday to ensure you don’t incur a huge phone bill.” – Nicky
Can you still buy goods at duty free?
“Yes, one major bonus for travellers will be the reintroduction of duty-free shopping when travelling to Europe, so you can still stock up at the airport before and after your holiday.” – Nicky
Is there a limit on bringing goods back to the UK?
“Yes. Previously, you could bring an unlimited amount of goods back to the UK without paying any fees. However, the limit has now been set at £390 (in most cases) and there are limits on the amount on personal allowances, too. You’ll be allowed to bring back 42 litres of beer, 18 litres of wine, 4 litres of spirits, and 200 cigarettes. For anything in excess of these allowances you may have to pay customs duty or import VAT. See Gov.uk for more details.” – Nicky
Will I face any luggage restrictions?
“No. There are no new rules in place.” – Tom
Are flights expected to be more expensive now?
“There’s no indication at the moment that Brexit will cause an increase in the price of flights. There will likely be a continuation of sales and very competitive pricing from airlines all around the world as they try to drive up revenue when the world starts to return to normal.” – Nicky
For more information on the Brexit changes which will apply from 1st January 2021, visit the government website here.
*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book anything. Please note, this list is a guide and should not considered as definitive list for worldwide travel. Visit Gov.uk for more information.
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