Good Housekeeping (UK)
How will Brexit affect holidays in Europe?
Your travel plans may be scrapped right now due to the global health pandemic, but when things get moving again, here’s what you need to know about travelling to the EU…
If you’re planning to drive your car in one of the 27 EU countries, you will now need a Green Card. ‘This is internationally recognised proof that you have motor insurance that complies with the minimum legal requirement of the country or countries you are driving in,’ says Malcolm Tarling, from the Association of British Insurers. You can get a Green Card from your motor insurer, and the ABI recommends applying for one at least a month before
your trip. In some cases, there may be a small charge to cover admin costs. It’s worth knowing that you’ll need a second Green Card if you want to tow a caravan, as it’s one per vehicle.
You’ll also need a ‘GB’ sticker for your car and whenever you’re going to be driving abroad, it’s always worth checking the rules of the road for the country you’re visiting (find them at gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice). If you have a paper driving licence, or a licence issued in places including Guernsey,
Jersey or the Isle of Man, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in some countries. Find out more at gov.uk/vehicle-insurance/driving-abroad.
EHIC TO GHIC
If you need medical treatment abroad, you can still use your existing EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) across the EU until it expires. This entitles you to free or discounted state medical care, depending on the country you’re in. However, since the start of this
year, your EHIC will no longer be accepted in some EU countries, including Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Within Norway, however, your UK passport will entitle you to emergency medical treatment.
Once your EHIC expires, you’ll need to apply for a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). This will get you emergency state medical care at the same rate that local residents pay in whatever EU country you’re in. Apply at nhs.uk. Do watch out, as some scam websites have sprung up charging up to £35 for the free GHIC.
It is important to remember that neither card is a substitute for travel insurance, which provides far more extensive medical cover and can include the cost of rearranging flights home if you’re too ill to travel, as well as cover for lost and stolen possessions.
‘If you have a British passport, it will need to have at least six months left, and it must have been issued within the past 10 years,’ says Sean Tipton, from the travel association ABTA. This applies when visiting any EU country, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. With Ireland, your passport only needs to be valid for the duration of your stay.
You may also be asked to produce a return ticket and you’ll no longer be able to use the EU lanes when queuing at border control. Check a passport’s validity using the government’s ‘passport checker’: gov.uk/check-a-passport-travel-europe.
When it comes to holidays, you won’t need a visa for short trips, as you will be able to stay for up to 90 days within the EU over a six-month period. Different rules apply for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. However, from 2022 (the exact date is yet to be announced), you will need a visa waiver to travel (around £6). This lasts three years, so you won’t have to get a new one for every trip.
You’ll no longer be able to use the EU lanes when queuing at border control