Brexit: Travel to the EU has changed

FCDO Travel Aware

On 1 January 2021 travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein changed as the UK’s transition period after leaving the EU came 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 may need your passport to have a least 6 months left on it and be less than 10 years old.

To find out the rules for your destination please check the entry requirements section of the travel advice pages for the country you are visiting.

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.  If your EHIC has expired, you can now apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which works in the same way. Again it is valid in EU countries but not Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

Apply for a GHIC:

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 are no longer able to take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries.

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

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 UK sticker.

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, has ended.

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

Travel Insurance

The government recommends that you have travel insurance in place when ever you travel abroad. continues to cover holidays within the EU and the rest of the world.  

Further information

To find out more about travelling to the EU visit the website: