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Brexit: Tips for travelling to the EU in 2021

Brexit: UK driver has ham sandwiches confiscated at Dutch border” made headlines on a BBC News article, which just reflects the chaos and confusion surrounding the new rules. Whether it’s about how plans for holiday might be affected or whether EHIC cards will still be valid, British people have an endless number of questions about what leaving the European Union (EU) would actually entail. Now that the Brexit transition period is over, this Pacific Prime UK article will shed light on some useful tips for travellers visiting the EU – of course, when COVID-19 is no longer a threat.

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Check your passport expiry date before you make travel plans

Fortunately, you will not have to apply for a visa if you are travelling abroad for tourism purposes. This means you can stay in Schengen area countries (most EU/EEA countries) for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. That being said, you’ll need to ensure that you have at least 6 months validity left on your passport. For example, if your passport is expiring in December 2021 and you plan to travel in August 2021, you’ll need to apply for a new passport.

Note: The rule about passport validity doesn’t apply for trips to the Republic of Ireland.

Get an animal health certificate (AHC) for your pet if you want to take them on a trip

Want to take your pet to the EU/EEA or Northern Ireland with you? It’s no longer possible to use EU pet passports issued in the UK. Instead, you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) from a qualified vet for your pet cats, dogs (including assistance dogs), and ferrets. Bear in mind that to do so, your pet will have to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. What’s more, you’ll need to get it 10 days before travelling.

Look into whether you can use your UK-issued drivers’ license

UK drivers will still be able to use their UK-issued drivers’ license to drive in EU countries if they have a photocard license (as opposed to only paper license) and their licences were issued in places other than Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man. For those who don’t meet the criteria, it is possible to get an International Driving Permit (IDP). However, it’s worth checking the government guidance for individual countries before you travel as there may be variations in the rules.

Make sure you won’t be charged exorbitant roaming fees

Back when the UK was in the EU, you can rest assured that you won’t be charged exorbitant fees from your phone/data provider when travelling to another member country, and stick to your UK-based phone or data plan. Now, this may not be the case so you’re advised to check if there are any additional charges and what your options are with your phone/data provider before travelling.

Apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) and secure Travel Insurance

British travellers will be familiar with the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which gave you the right to access state-provided healthcare and treatment during a temporary stay in another EU/EEA country. Early on, there were a lot of questions about how Brexit will affect the EHIC and some clarity was provided on EHICs as the end of the transition period approached. However, the deal announced on 24th December 2020 confirmed that:

  • UK-issued EHICs will be valid until their expiry dates.
  • After this, there will be a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for the majority of UK citizens.

While this is good news for many British travellers, it might still be a good idea to secure travel insurance. This can give you peace of mind as you’ll be able to access private healthcare and receive a number of non-medical benefits, say for instance you lost your baggage or there are flight delays. Moreover, those who travel and/or move around often can also consider international health insurance.

Ensure you understand duty-free shopping rules as there is no longer ‘free movement of goods’

If you’re the kind of person that loves to bring home goodies (alcohol, tobacco, etc.) from your travels abroad, then you’ll need to pay attention to the customs rules. Now that ‘free movement of goods’ is not guaranteed, there’ll be limits on the amount you can bring in duty-free from the EU. Be sure you’re crystal clear on the new rules to avoid having to pay customs duties at the border.

Want to secure travel insurance plans for the EU? Get in touch with Pacific Prime UK

If you’re hoping to secure travel insurance plans for the EU, you’re welcome to get in touch with Pacific Prime UK. We’ve got over two decades of experience helping travellers find travel insurance plans for their needs and budget. Whether you’re travelling abroad for leisure or business, we’ve got appropriate travel insurance plans for you. Likewise, if you’re looking for a more long-term solution, we can also recommend international health insurance plans for you.

Contact us today!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime UK
Suphanida aims to demystify the world of insurance by creating informative and engaging content. As a wordsmith, she spends the majority of her day writing and editing website content, blog posts, in-depth guides, and more.

Outside of work, Suphanida enjoys travelling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.