Travel to Europe post-Brexit

The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:

  • you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
  • if you are travelling to Europe and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days
  • to stay longer, to work or study, for business or for other reasons, you will need to meet that specific countries government’s entry requirements. Check with that country’s Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit, they/you may need
  • if you stay in that country with a visa or permit, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit

At a border control, you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You may also need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay

Passport validity

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.

You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).

Driving:

If you’re taking your own vehicle, you will need a green card and a GB sticker.

You might also need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have:

  • a paper driving licence
  • a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

Check with the embassy of the country you will be driving in.

Taking food and drink into EU countries

You are not 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.

Free mobile roaming: check with your phone operator

The guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway has ended.

Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1 January 2021.

A new law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing.

Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you’re abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this.

Health Cover on travel to the EU:

PLEASE NOTE: It is recommended that you all take out a specific travel insurance that gives cover for you to play hockey rather than rely on EHIC or GHIC health cover. Contact your insurer if you have any questions about whether hockey is covered.

If you are travelling to the EU, you can apply for a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date. A GHIC or EHIC gives you the right to access emergency state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in those countries.

Check for the latest information on GHIC or EHIC online, or by phone on 0300 330 1350.

Remember that a GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property. EHIC is not valid on cruises.

Apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)

The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) lets you get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.

If you have a UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) it will be valid until the expiry date on the card. Once it expires, you’ll need to apply for a GHIC to replace it.

GHIC and EHIC do not replace travel insurance.

Where you can use your card

You can use a GHIC or an EHIC if you’re travelling to an EU country.

You cannot use a GHIC or an existing EHIC in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. You’ll need travel insurance with healthcare cover.

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

How to apply

It’s free to apply for a GHIC. Some websites charge to help you apply – these are unnecessary and you do not need to use them.

You’ll need to provide your:

  • full name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance or NHS number (England and Wales)
  • CHI number (Scotland)
  • Health and Care number (Northern Ireland)

Please click on any of the links below to apply for a new GHIC:

Apply for a free GHIC card – Healthcare abroad

Apply for a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) – NHS (www.nhs.uk)