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Travelling in Europe after Brexit

This advice applies to Scotland

The rules about travelling in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change on 1 January 2021.

Until 1 January you can still for example:

  • use your passport or national ID card to enter these countries or the UK
  • use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for health insurance

If you’re planning to travel on or after 1 January 2021, you should:

  • check your passport is valid for the dates you’re travelling
  • get travel insurance
  • find out if you’ll be charged more to use your mobile phone
  • check you’ve got everything you have to take if you’ll be driving, for example a GB sticker for your car
  • check you’ve got the right documents if you’re taking your pet

Check your passport is valid for the dates you’re travelling

If you’ll have less than 6 months on your passport when you travel, you’ll need to renew it before your trip. You can check if your passport will be valid for your trip on GOV.UK. 

Apply for your passport as early as you can - it can take several weeks to process in busy times. If you need to renew a passport urgently, you can book an appointment for the 1 week fast track service on GOV.UK.

Get travel insurance

You can't use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) any more for health insurance.

You’ll need to arrange your own travel insurance before you go. 

Unlike EHICs, travel insurance probably won’t cover you for illnesses you already have. This means it’s important to tell your insurer if you have any health problems. If they can’t cover you, they should recommend a specialist insurance company that can.

Find out if you’ll be charged more to use your mobile phone

You might have to pay more to use your mobile phone in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

Before you go, ask your mobile phone service provider what the charges will be for using your mobile phone abroad.  

Make sure you understand how to turn off mobile roaming on your phone if you’re worried about extra charges. This is usually in the phone’s ‘settings’ menu under ‘mobile roaming’.

If you’re driving abroad

If you’re planning to drive in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you'll need to take:

  • your driving licence and vehicle log book – you should check they’re up to date first
  • an international driving permit – depending on where you’re going
  • a GB sticker for your vehicle
  • a ‘green card’ to prove you have the right travel insurance
  • a hired vehicle certificate – if you’re hiring or leasing your vehicle

You might also have to take other things like a reflective jacket or a warning triangle sticker – it depends where you’re going. Check what else you need to take if you’re driving abroad on the AA’s website.

Check your driving licence and vehicle log book are up to date

You’ll need to take your driving licence with you. If it’s about to run out, you’ll need to renew it at least a week before you travel. You can check if your driving licence is still valid and order a new one on GOV.UK.

You’ll also need to take your vehicle log book (V5C) with you. If you don’t have one, you can order a replacement log book from DVLA. Ask for it at least 6 weeks before you go. You’ll have to pay a fee.

Check if you need an international driving permit (IDP)

You might need to get an IDP to drive in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. You might need more than one IDP if you’re driving in more than one country.

You can check if you’ll need an IDP for the countries where you’ll be driving on GOV.UK.

You can get an IDP at the Post Office. You’ll need:

  • a full valid UK driving licence - photocard or paper
  • a passport-sized photograph
  • £5.50 application fee
  • your passport if you’re taking a paper driving licence

You must be 18 or over to get an IDP.

Get a GB sticker

You’ll need to display a GB sticker on the back of your vehicle. You’ll need to do this even if you have GB or EU symbols on your licence plate. 

You can buy this sticker in shops or online.

Get a 'green card'

A green card proves you have the right insurance to drive abroad. You’ll need one if you’re hiring a car or driving your own car. You can get a green card from your car insurance company. Ask for it at least 4 weeks before you go. You might have to pay a fee.

You should ask your car insurer if there are any limits to how long you can drive outside the UK when you apply for your green card.

Check if you need a hired vehicle certificate

If you’re taking a hired or leased vehicle abroad you’ll need to take a VE103 certificate with you to show you’re allowed to drive it. 

You can get a VE103 from a range of different organisations and will have to pay a fee. 

Travelling with your pet

If you have a UK pet passport it won’t be valid anymore. 

You might need to get things like blood tests and health certificates for your pet before you travel. 

Talk to your vet at least 4 months before you plan to travel for advice on what you need to do. You can also find out more about pet travel to Europe after Brexit on GOV.UK. 

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