News & Insights

Brexit: European Trips will need more planning

Following the latest guidance from the European Commission, Imelda Reddington, Head of Immigration, summarises key changes in connection to travelling between the EU and the UK once the transition period ends.

Although negotiations on a new partnership between the EU and the UK are still ongoing, the European Commission has published its latest guidance on travelling between the EU and the UK as from the end of the transition period, on 31 December 2020.  It seems European trips will require much more planning.

From 1 January 2021, UK nationals will be considered as nationals of the ‘third country’, and freedom of movement rights will no longer apply.

The key considerations for planning a trip to Europe:

  • Is your passport about to expire?  You need to ensure that there is at least six months left on your passport and your passport has no more than a 10 year issue period.  Ireland is exempt from these rules.
  • Are you planning of staying longer than 90 days in any 180-day period? If so, you will need to consider obtaining a residence permit or a long stay visa.
  • You will also be expected to provide evidence of the purpose of your visit and, in some cases, to show a return ticket and prove that you have sufficient funds to pay for your entire stay and return travel.
  • Are you planning of taking your pet with you? If so, you should contact your vet at least 4 months before travelling to get the latest advice.
  • Have you got a travel insurance with health cover? The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for unexpected healthcare will no longer be valid.
  • Are you planning on driving during your stay? If so, you may need an international driving permit (IDP). You should also bring your UK driving license.  IDP’s can be purchased from the post office before you travel.  Full details on the countries requiring IDP will be published later.
  • Are you intending to travel by car?  Depending on where you are going, you will be required to obtain a “green card” from your insurer to prove your car is covered for driving abroad.
  • Have you checked with your mobile phone provider? The guarantee of free roaming will end.

On the other hand, duty-free shopping will return, and the UK nationals will be able to claim VAT refunds having purchased any goods during their stay in the EU or Northern Ireland.  However, there will be limits on duty-free items to and from the EU and prohibitions on items such as dairy or meat, in line with non-EU countries.

If you have any questions about the contents of this article or if you need any assistance with immigration matters, please contact Imelda Reddington: [email protected] in the immigration team at FSP.