Brexit: Changes to EU travel in January 2021

FCDO Travel Aware

From 1 January 2021 travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will change as the UK’s transition period after leaving the EU comes to an end.

Here is a summary of what you need to be aware of:


On the day of arrival to an EU country, you will need your passport to have a least 6 months left on it and be less than 10 years old.

You can check whether your passport will be valid using the government’s passport check tool:

These rules do not apply when travelling to Ireland, as it is part of the Common Travel Area.

Medical Treatment

If you already hold a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) it will continue to be valid for use in EU countries until the expiry date on the card. It will not be valid if you are travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

Please note: An EHIC proves your entitement to state provided health care on the same terms as a local resisdent, it does not mean that it will be free and it does not cover the cost of repatriation (getting you home).

No matter where you are travelling, it is important to buy appropriate travel insurance for your trip, including cover for any pre-existing medical conditions you have. can cover all types of medical conditions up to a high level of severity.

Border controls in EU countries

When you arrive at border control there may be more requirements than if you were arriving from another EU country, such as:

You may need to show a return or onward ticket or show that you have enough money for your stay.

You will also no longer be able to use the lane for EU and EAA citizens, so you may find that you have to queue for longer.


If you are a tourist you will not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.  You will be able to stay for 90 days in any 180 day period. 

Different rules will apply in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.

You may need a visa if you are planning to stay longer, work or study. 

Check the FCDO travel advice page for specific information on visas and permits.

Again, these rules don’t apply to Ireland as it is part of the Common Travel Area.

Taking food, drink and plants into EU countries

You will not be able to take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries from 1 January 2021.

There are some exceptions, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.

You’ll need a certificate to take certain plants and plant products into EU countries from 1 January 2021. 

Driving in the EU

From 1 January 2021 you may need extra documents to drive in the EU, such as an international drivers permit. 

If you are taking your own vehicle you will need a GB sticker and a green card from your insurance company.

You should check the rules with the embassy of the country you plan to drive in.

Taking your pet to the EU

You will no longer be able to use the existing pet passport scheme and will need to apply for an animal health certificate instead.  

More information about pet travel:

Mobile roaming charges

The guarantee of free mobile roaming, which means that our mobile calls and data cost the same no matter where we are in the EU, will end on 1 January 2021.

You should check with your phone provider to find out what their new charges will be.

Travel Insurance

Any policy already issued for travel post-Brexit will remain in place and cover will continue as per the contract at the time of sale.
We also understand that many people will be abroad in EEA countries over the Brexit period and again, we want to reassure you that cover will continue. In the unlikely event that no deal is made and air traffic is grounded, or there are any other interruptions to travel, our stance is as follows for all policy holders:

  • If a you are abroad, we will automatically extend your cover with no additional premium
  • If you have a policy in place and are unable to travel, we will offer a refund or the option to change your travel dates within the usual terms of a policy

Further information

To find out more about what will change after 1 January 2021 visit the website: