Your passport for a Brexit short vacation: The EU travel rules are untangled by our Holiday Hero
- British passports must be valid for at least six months from January 2021
- Ten-year European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are no longer valid
- The rules for driving in the EU will change, although the negotiations are still ongoing
Our vacation hero, Neil Simpson, covers an important vacation topic in depth every week and does all the groundwork so you don’t have to. This week: How to easily travel to Europe after Brexit.
DEAL or No Deal, the UK’s transition from the EU will become real on January 1st and will have an impact on the holidays from then on. The most pressing problem is to make sure that your passport is valid for travel to EU countries for the next year.
British passports are currently valid in the EU until their expiration date. But from January they must have at least six months to run. This means that those whose passports expire in the summer of 2021 will no longer be able to travel in the spring.
No entry: Due to rule changes from January 1st, you cannot travel to the EU even with a valid passport
To make matters worse, some people whose passports will not expire until the end of 2021 or even the beginning of 2022 may also be turned away at an EU border.
The reason for this is that some UK passports have a lifespan of up to ten years and nine months rather than the usual ten. This is because up to nine months that have not expired with an old pass could previously be added to the life of a new one.
However, the EU will ignore the additional nine months as well as the last six months when deciding whether a passport is valid. To determine if you are in the danger zone, check the date of issue of your passport, not the expiration date. If it was issued more than nine years and six months ago, it is now safer to renew.
Do you want confirmation? Use the “Verify Passport For Travel To Europe From January 1, 2021” tool on gov.uk. Tap the country you want to visit, your date of birth, passport issue and expiration date for an instant response.
Fortunately, renewing a passport is easy. The delays experienced in the first coronavirus lockdown have passed and most applications are completed within three weeks.
Renewals at passport.service. gov.uk are the fastest and cheapest at £ 75.50. For convenience, most photo booths and photo shops provide codes with headshots. When you add this code to your application, the image will be uploaded automatically.
Ten-year European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are no longer valid
If you are taking your own digital photo, the strict requirements are stated on the application form. Free “passport photo” apps can help. You can pay an additional £ 16 at large post offices for check and postage services, including photos taken by staff at specially equipped counters.
The next big change after Brexit is that 10-year European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) will no longer be valid regardless of their expiration date. These promised British citizens would be offered free basic services for free if a disaster strikes during the vacation. Updated benefits are expected to be negotiated with the EU in 2021, but the potential for less protection and higher costs makes it even more important to get your own travel insurance, even for long weekends.
The rules for driving in the EU will also change, although negotiations continue. The good news is that when we need international driver’s licenses from New Years on, they can be obtained from post offices for as little as £ 5.50. All you need is an existing driver’s license and a passport photo to apply.
And don’t forget your pet passport. The final rules are still to be agreed, but it looks like the EU will impose a three-month delay between drawing new blood samples from pets and granting travel authorization. It means that it may be impossible to get your dog or cat to Europe by spring.
Check the Brexit section on gov.uk for updates.