From 1st January 2021, UK nationals will come under some travel restrictions when visiting countries in the EU.
First of all, due to COVID-19, EU countries are not allowing travellers from other countries. Now, even the UK nationals will not be allowed. However, a few individual countries in the EU may allow for restriction-free travel.
Apart from restrictions due to the pandemic, there are other travel restrictions.
Passport and Visa
UK nationals will not need a new passport. However, you need to ensure that on the day of travel
– Your passport is less than 10 years old and
– It has at least 6 months left before expiry
These rules do not apply if you are visiting Ireland.
If you need to renew your passport, make sure to do it much in advance. The new passport will have a different colour.
If you are visiting as a tourist to the EU countries or to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, you will not need a visa. You can stay and travel around for up to 90 days.
However, if you have to stay for more than 90 days e.g., for work or study, you will need a visa.
Rules are slightly different for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. You can visit these countries and stay for up to 90 days. But your 90-day allowance for EU countries will not get spent.
Previously, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would cover medical expenses for a UK national if he or she became ill or met with an accident while in an EU country. From 1st January 2021, the EHIC will no longer be valid for UK nationals.
So, if you are arranging for travel insurance, make sure that your insurance has a health cover. And if you have a pre-existing medical condition, make sure to get it covered in your travel insurance.
Note: EHIC will continue to be valid for
– UK state pensioners living in EU before 2020
– UK students already enrolled in EU courses
You can no longer use the EU fast track passport control and customs lanes. You will have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.
At border control, you will be asked to show your return ticket. They may also ask you to show that you have enough money to spend for the duration of your trip.
You will not have free roaming in the EU anymore. You will have to check with your mobile provider about the charges that will apply.
While travelling, if your roaming data charges reach £45, you will receive a notification on your phone.
Driving to an EU country
If you are driving to an EU country, you will need to carry your Great Britain or Northern Ireland driving licence, the needed insurance documents and your logbook (V5C). Apart from these, you may also need an international driving licence and a “green card’ from the insurer.
• If you are travelling with a pet, please note that you cannot use the existing passport scheme for pets. You will now need an Animal Health Certificate. Plan for it at least one month before your travel date and get the required vaccinations done.
• You cannot carry meat or meat products and milk or milk products. There are exceptions made for infant food, powdered milk for infants, and pet food if it is for medical reasons.
• To carry plants or plant products, you will need a certificate.
Please check the European Commission’s website to get up-to-date information on these restrictions.
If you need any kind of guidance or assistance with your travel plan to the EU, please contact our Immigration experts at Aristone Solicitors.