Brexit and Travel – What do you need to know

On December 24th 2020, the EU and UK reached a trade and cooperation agreement. January 1st 2021, The United Kingdom officially exited the EU. New rules apply to travel and business between the UK and Europe. One change is that EU rules on free movement will no longer apply to travel to and from the UK. Read this article to check what changed since the Brexit regarding travel. The information presented in this article is from the French government website (in French) and the British government website (English)

EU citizen – short visit in the UK

Irish citizens can continue to enter and live in the UK. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can travel to the UK for holidays or short trips without needing a visa. You can cross the UK border using a valid passport which should be valid for the whole time you are in the UK. You will be able to travel with your ID card only until October 1st 2021. After that you will need a valid passport unless you: In these cases, you can continue to use your national ID card to enter the UK until at least December 31st 2025.

EU citizen – Formation or Business Trip in the UK

As of January 1, 2021, you won’t need a visa for simple professional visits, training, conferences, seminars, workshops, etc. You may participate in a wide range of activities including business-related activities such as meetings, events and conferences. You may enter the UK multiple times during that period but you may not live in the UK by means of frequent or successive visits. As a business visitor, you cannot:
  • do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person
  • do a work placement or internship
  • sell directly to the public or provide goods and services
Read more about visiting the UK on a business trip and check whether you need to apply for a visa to carry out your intended activities. Check the Visitor Rules and see the full list of business and academic activities you can do as a visitor to the UK. However, for exercise of professional activity on British territory, or for a stay longer than 6 months, a visa may be required according to the new rules in force on January 1st  2021 (UK’s new points-based immigration system). You can check if you need a visa with the Brexit Checker

Driving in the UK

If you have a non-UK licence

Visitors with a non-UK driving licence can drive in the UK. If your permit is not in English, you’ll need a translation to accompany it. For now, you do not need an international driving permit (IDP), but this point is still in negotiation.

If your vehicle is not insured in the UK

If you have vehicle insurance issued in the EU, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland, you should carry an insurance green card or other valid proof of insurance. To be valid, other proof of insurance must be a document issued by the vehicle insurance provider which includes the:
  • name of the insurance provider
  • number plate or other identifying particulars of the vehicle
  • period of insurance cover
Contact your vehicle insurance provider before you travel.

Mobile phone in the UK

How much you pay for calls, texts and mobile data in the UK and the EU will depend on your operator. Please check before you travel.

Bringing your pet in the UK

Check the routes before you travel. You must travel using approved routes.  Before they enter GB, all pets must be:
  • microchipped
  • vaccinated against rabies – your vet needs proof that your pet’s at least 12 weeks old before vaccinating them. Travellers with pets need to wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel into GB.
  • You’ll need to take your dog to a vet for an approved tapeworm treatment if traveling from a country not free from tapeworm. You must do this no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before entering GB.
Your pet must have one of the following documents when entering or returning to GB:
  • an EU pet passport issued in the EU (or in GB if issued before 1 January 2021), or a pet passport from another Part 1 listed third country
  • the animal health certificate (AHC) issued in GB used to travel to the EU – which you can use to re-enter GB for up to 4 months after it was issued
  • a GB pet health certificate (for travel into GB only)
You cannot bring more than 5 pets into GB unless you’re attending or training for a:
  • competition
  • show
  • sporting event
You’ll need written evidence of registration for the event when you travel.

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