News & Insights

Visiting the UK after 1 January 2021

Imelda Reddington considers the rules that will apply from 1 January 2021 to anyone visiting the UK from Europe.

The rules on visiting the UK from Europe after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 will remain largely unchanged. From 1 January 2021, Irish citizens can continue to visit and live in the UK as they do now.

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will not be included on the “visa nationals” list.  Citizens on the “visa nationals” list require a visa to enter the UK.  Instead, EU/EEA and Swiss nationals will be classed as “non-visa nationals”, joining citizens from countries including the USA, Canada and Australia.  This means they can continue to visit the UK for up to six months for holidays and short trips using their passports at the border or accessing Egates.

EEA or Swiss national ID cards cannot be used to enter the UK from 1 October 2021, unless the individual has any of the following status listed below, which will permit entry using a national ID card until at least 31 December 2025 if you:

  • have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • have a frontier work permit
  • are an S2 Healthcare Visitor
  • are a Swiss Service Provider

The government has also clarified the position in relation to driving in the UK. Those with a non-UK driving licence will still be able to drive in the UK and will not need an international driving permit. Anyone using a vehicle that is insured in the EU, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland will need to carry an insurance green card or other valid proof of insurance, which has been issued by the insurer, and includes their name, the vehicle’s number plate, or other identifying particulars, and the period of insurance cover.

Further guidance on this and other issues, including what can be brought to the UK and healthcare, can be found on the government’s website here.

If you have any questions about the rules on travelling to the UK from the beginning of next year, or on the UK’s immigration laws more generally, please contact Imelda Reddington [email protected].