Government updates Europe travel advice ahead of Brexit tonight

The government has updated its travel advice to Europe for British citizens ahead of the UK leaving the European Union at 11pm tonight.

It informs UK residents that “travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change from 1 January 2021.”

People should check their passport, get travel insurance that covers healthcare, check you have the right driving documents and organise pet travel (contact your vet at least four months before you go).

You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you are travelling from this date as on the day of travel the passport will need to have at least six months left and be less than 10 years old (even if it has six 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 three weeks to renew a passport and there’s a premium service if you need it sooner.

These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland.

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You should always get appropriate travel insurance before you travel abroad.

(Image: PA)

From January 1, 2021, your European Health Insurance 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’ll need an international driving permit to drive in some countries and if you are taking your own vehicle, you’ll need a green card which takes a month to obtain from your insurer and a GB sticker.


Flights, ferries and cruises, the Eurostar and Eurotunnel and bus and coach services between the UK and the EU will run as before from January 1, 2021.

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 from this date.

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Your consumer rights will not change from this date – so if your travel is cancelled or delayed you may be able to claim a refund or compensation.

Some rules will change and you will be able to buy duty-free tobacco and alcohol when you’re travelling to the EU from ports, airports and international train stations and on board ships, trains and planes from the UK.

Countries have different duty-free limits and check before you travel to see how much you can take in.

Some runs are changing around the duty you’ll pay on goods you bring back from the EU from next January.

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You won’t be able to use the existing pet passport scheme from this date and will have to follow a different process that takes four months.

If you’re a tourist, you won’t need a visit for short trips to EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

You will be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

And you may need a visa or permit to stay for longer to work or study for business travel.

At border control you may need to show a return or onward ticket, show you have enough money for your stay and use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queuing.

The guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end from January 2021.

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(Image: PA)

Check with your phone operator about any roaming charges you might get.

A new law means 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.

If your travel company goes out of business you’re protected even if it’s an EU company, as long as the firm targets UK countries.

Otherwise, you can claim compensation if you used your credit card and you’ll continue to be able to claim for payments between £100 and £30,000.

You need to declare cash of £10,000 or more if you take it between the UK and any other country.

If you are a business you may need to make a customs declaration if you take goods with you to sell abroad for use for business.

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