It’s here, the United Kingdom has fully departed the European Union. As a result, British citizens are treated as “third country nationals” when travelling to the EU.
Here’s a brief guide of important need-to-knows for your next trip. Please note this is a guide based on typical holiday stays, for conducting business and moving to EU countries you should look up specific guidance.
UK nationals are limited to stays of no more than 90 days in any 180 days (rolling period) in the Schengen Zone. Your passport will be checked on entry and exit (stamped or scanned). For example, if you stayed for 90 days in one go you would not be able to return for another 90 days. There isn’t the option to travel back to the UK for a single day to re-start the clock. For longer stays and frequent travellers it’s worth using the Schengen Calculator: click here.
The rules on passport validity have changed.
If your British passport still says “European Union” on it, it is still a British passport and can be used subject to the validity requirements. The new passports issued are blue documents.
You will need at least three months’ validity remaining on your intended departure date from the EU and for the passport to have been issued under ten years ago. If you renewed your passport early whilst the UK was an EU member, you may have too much validity as EU countries consider passports to have expired 10 years after their issue date. It’s worth checking in advance of your trip, in case you need to renew early.
Was your passport issued in the past 10 years exactly?
On the date of your intended return to the UK from the EU, will at least three months’ validity remain?
Border officials are entitled to ask third country nationals about their reason for travel, as well as evidence of a return ticket and for proof of funds to sustain yourself during your visit.
Emergency reciprocal healthcare will continue, in the form of a new card for UK residents. If you have a current EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), it remains valid until its expiry date and you do need to seek a new card until expiry. The new card, a GHIC (Glocal Health Insurance Card), is free and can be applied for online: click here.
UK driving licences will continue to be recognised for short stays, you do not need an IDP (International Driving Permit) for Lanzarote.
Soon, the EU will launch a light touch short stay visa waiver system called ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System). This will apply to British citizens visiting and will cost €7 per person. It is likely to come into place in 2022: click here.
The legal guarantee of free mobile roaming has ended. UK mobile providers are legally able to charge you for mobile phone roaming, however many operators have said they do not plan to do this. It’s important to check your own network. If you are charged, you’re protected from getting data charges above £45 without you knowing. Once you reach £45, you have to explicitly opt in tom continue roaming.
Arrivals from the UK cannot bring meat, milk or products containing meat or milk into the EU. There are a few exemptions for items such as powdered infant food: click here.