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Travelling in the EU: Passports and Travel & Medical Cover

If you’re visiting Europe from the 1st of January 2021, you may need to do a few extra checks before you travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein such as:

  • Check your passport
  • Get travel insurance that covers your healthcare
  • Check you have the right driving documents
  • Organise pet travel

It’s always best to check the travel advice for the country you’re visiting for the latest information.

Passports: do you need to renew them?

You may need to renew your British passport earlier than you did before. On the day of travel, you’ll need your passport to have at least 6 months left and be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months left)

These rule don’t apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.

Medical Cover: Check you’re covered

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) will be valid if you’re travelling to an EU country.

You can use a UK passport to get medically necessary healthcare in Norway (emergency treatment or to treat a pre-existing condition).

Some people can apply for a UK issued EHIC after the 1st of January 2021. People who can apply for the new card include:

  • UK students studying in the EU
  • Some British State Pensioners who live in the EU and their families
  • EU nationals in the UK

The UK government recommends that all holidaymakers arrange travel insurance with healthcare cover before they travel to Europe. It’s best to use a broker like ourselves who will search the market on your behalf and make sure you have the right healthcare cover on your policy.

Entering other countries: Border Control & Visas

At border control, you may have to show a return or onward ticket, show you have enough money for your stay and use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing.

If you’re a tourist, you don’t need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Different rules apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries do not count towards the 90 day total.

You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study or for business travel.

You can travel to and work in Ireland in the same way as before 1st January 2021.

Pet Travel: allow at least 1 month to arrange

You cannot use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) for your pet. Allow at least 1 month to arrange this and relevant vaccinations.

Follow the government guidance for taking your pet dog, cat or ferret abroad.

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