Last Updated on December 28, 2020
How to Travel After Brexit
On January 1, 2021, the transition period for the UK to leave the EU will end, and new rules will apply. Here is everything you need to know about travelling to and from the EU after the transition period, as well as steps you might need to take to ensure comfortable travel.
Travelling to the EU
Starting from January 1, 2021, Britons travelling to EU countries, excluding Ireland, will need to carry their passports with them, in order to present them at the EU port of entry.
List of EU Member States, Schengen Area countries and microstates (excluding Ireland):
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City.
Before travelling to any of the above countries, you should:
1. Check your passport to see if it needs to be renewed.
On the day of your travel, your passport needs to have at least 6 months validity, and also be less than 10 years old (even if it has more than 6 months left). Renew your passport here.
2. Get travel insurance
Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid until 31, December 2020. Arrange appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before going abroad. When choosing travel insurance, make sure you buy travel insurance that covers pre-existing medical conditions.
3. Have relevant documentation
At border control, you may be asked to present your return/onward ticket, show that you have enough money for your stay and provide proof of your health insurance. You will also have to queue at separate lanes from EU/EEA and Swiss citizens.
For short-term trips to the EU, Britons will not require a visa. Travellers will be able to stay in the EU region for 90 days in a 180-day period.
The EU plans to propose the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) in 2020. Once this system is in place, travellers from visa waiver countries (including the UK) will be required to enrol in the system to continue visa-free travel to the EU.
UK Citizens Living/Working in the EU
If you are a UK citizen who is living and working in the EU, the Withdrawal Agreement allows you to stay in the EU country of your residence after December 31, 2020. You will continue to have the same privileges to work, study and obtain benefits as before the UK left the EU. You will only lose these rights if you leave the EU for more than 5 years.
You may be required to apply for a residence permit to confirm that you were already living in the EU country before December 31, 2020. You will need to apply for this before June 30, 2021. Depending on which EU country you are living in, the steps may be slightly different. Find more details about your specific EU country on the GOV.UK site.
UK Citizens Studying in the EU
If you are already studying in an EU member state, you will be eligible for the same fees as EU students as long as you started your education before December 31, 2020. However, UK nationals who wish to study a whole degree course at an EU member state university after December 31, 2020, may need to pay different fees. Check with your university to see what fees apply to you.
EU Citizens in the UK
If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you (and your family) can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue your stay in the UK. The deadline for applying for the scheme is June 30, 2021. Find more details about applying to the EU Settlement Scheme on the GOV.UK site.
For more specific questions, read the European Commission’s questions and answers memo about the rights of UK and EU citizens. Alternatively, you can also check with the British embassy in your resident country to figure out your next steps. The GOV.UK site also has a section on the UK Transition with detailed information and step-by-step instructions.