Travel to Europe will be different from 1 January 2021, so it is important you plan early to make sure you have everything in place in time for your trip.
It’s also important that you check how the coronavirus pandemic may affect your travel plans. When planning a trip and before you travel, check the Foreign Office advice for the destination you are visiting.
Steps to take when travelling to Europe from 1 January 2021
Check to see if your passport will still be valid
If you have a British passport, make sure your passport is:
- valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave an EU country. This means the day you are returning home after your holiday.
- less than 10 years old
The 3 months you need when leaving a country must be within 10 years of the passport issue date. If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum 3 months needed.
You can use the Government’s passport checker to see if you need to renew your passport.
Take out travel insurance with adequate healthcare cover
We always advise travellers to take out comprehensive travel insurance with sufficient healthcare cover, including cover for existing medical conditions and any activities you plan to do. ABTA has advice on finding the right travel insurance. We can also direct you to our preferred supplier, Holiday Extras, who may be able to assist you with your insurance needs, including offering cover should Covid-19 affect your plans. You can find more details here.
If you have a European Health Insurance Card it will be valid up to its expiry date. If you apply for a card now, you'll get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of an EHIC. More details here.
Make sure you have all the documents you need to drive in Europe
Driving permits – if your driving licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man you may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some EU countries and Norway from 1 January 2021. These are available from the Post Office.
Green cards for insurance – if you are driving your own car in Europe, you will need to obtain and carry a physical Green Card for your UK car insurance to be valid in the EU. These cards will be available from your car insurance provider. You may be charged a small fee to cover administration costs. The ABI advises you apply for a Green Card at least a month before you are due to travel. You may also need a Green Card for your trailer or caravan, so check with your insurer.
GB car stickers – you will need a GB sticker for your own car when driving in the EU after the transition period ends.
Check your mobile phone company’s policy on data roaming
Rules around mobile data roaming are changing meaning you may face charges when using your phone abroad, including for making calls, sending messages or using the internet. Check with your mobile phone provider about their data roaming policy.
The UK Government also has advice for people travelling to the EU after 1 January 2021.
Other things to be aware of when travelling to Europe
- If you are going on holiday you won’t need a visa for short trips to Europe.At border control you may need to show a return ticket and that you have enough money for your stay
- When going through passport control you may not be able to use the EU or EEA lanes.
- You won’t be able to take any meat, milk or any products containing these items into the EU. There are exceptions for powdered baby milk, baby food, or pet food required for medical reasons.