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June 23, 2021

A Closer Look at Holidaying in Europe After Brexit

The UK officially left the EU this year, and there are some changes that you need to know that have come in place. They came into force at the start of 2021. British holidaymakers need to know about these changes when traveling to Europe.

Read the tips below to know what this means for you and what you need to know the next time you are traveling across the continent?

What are the new changes you need to know when planning your trip to an EU country?


The burgundy passport you have is still a valid UK travel document, but now it no longer has EU powers, despite having the words ‘European Union’ on the cover. Some have a blue passport, which is also a valid UK travel document. The passport must have at least six months left and be issued within the last 10 years for travel between the UK and the EU.


At the moment, you are not required to apply for a visa before entering an EU country, but starting 2022 (or later), Brits are going to be forced to pay for an Etias permit, which is similar to Esta that you need before you are allowed to enter America. You can expect to pay about 6 pounds or 7 euros for this permit. The permit is going to be for three years.

Border control

When landing in an EU country in the past, you might have used EU fast-track lanes. This allowed quick movement through the border. Although British tourists don’t have these privileges anymore, there have been suggestions of having such an arrangement by countries that get many visitors from Britain, like Spain and Portugal.

You may be asked to disclose the purpose of the trip, where you are going to stay, and how you are going to fund your trip. There are some foods you are not allowed to take across the body like milk or meat, although there are exemptions for infant food and milk and also food a person needs for medical reasons.

Length of stay 

British travelers have to follow the ‘90/180’ rule and this means they are allowed to stay in the Schengen Area for 90 days or less over 180 days, and the counting starts the first day you arrive in the EU country. Your entitlement resets at the end of the 180 days.

If you go past the 90 days (you will first be given a grace period of a few days), you risk being banned for one year from traveling to all countries in the Schengen Area and not just the country you visited.

There are exemptions from this rule. Countries like Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Croatia and not part of the Schengen Area, and visiting them will not count towards the quota.

Health Care

When in the UK, British holidaymakers can still get free or very cheap medical treatment. There is a belief that the UK is going to release details of their new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This is going to cover the EU countries and also New Zealand and Australia.

If you still have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can still use it but you have to apply for GHIC when it runs out, this is like a direct replacement. It might also be a good idea to get Schengen travel insurance that has sufficient healthcare cover based on existing medical conditions, or what you plan on doing when going abroad.


You don’t need to get an International Driving Permit as a British motorist before being allowed to drive in the EU. If you are going to take your car from the UK to the EU, then you have to get and carry a physical Green Card for the car insurance to be valid in the European Union. You also need a GB sticker.

Mobile Phones

UK phones are not covered by the EU ban on roaming charges for calls and internet usage, which means the providers have the freedom to impose any fees they want.

Many of the big providers have said they are not going to charge any roaming fees, including Vodafone, 3, O2, and EE.

If the providers decide to initiate roaming charges, the government has stated that they are going to introduce a cap on mobile data usage at £49 when abroad.

Business Travel 

If you have to travel within the EU for work purposes, then you can be happy to know that you can enter most EU countries without additional paperwork, but you need to keep in mind that the trips are going to be part of the ‘90/180’ quota.

Some countries like Denmark, Cyprus, Malta, and Hungary will require a work permit or business visa. Some countries are going to ask your questions about the purpose of your trip.


Pets passports have now expired for UK tourists, which makes it a little trickier to travel with your dog or cat. Before traveling with a pet to the EU, you are required to get an EU animal health certificate (AHC) that confirms that the pets have a valid rabies vaccination and have been microchipped.

This certificate is going to be issued within 10 days of entry to the EU and you can get it from a vet. This cost is going to be around 100 pounds.

Returning home 

While there were no limits on the value of goods you were allowed to bring from an EU country, there are some strict measures you have to follow.

If it is alcohol, you are allowed to bring only 9 liters of spirits or 4 liters of spirits, 16 liters of beer, and 18 liters of still wine. You are also allowed a maximum of 200 duty-free cigarettes.

If you happen to go over the above limits, you will be required to pay tax on everything you are bringing. Unlike the restrictions on meat and dairy products from the UK to the EU, you don’t have to worry when bringing them from the EU back home because there are no restrictions.

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