31 December marks the end of the transition period, so from 1 January rules for travelling between the UK and European Union countries will change. Here are the key changes to be aware of:
British tourists will be able to travel to all EU countries (plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) without needing a visa.
However due to Covid, travellers from most non-EU countries can’t visit except for essential reasons. From 1 January the UK will no longer be treated as a member of the EU and will subsequently become subject to these rules.
Individual EU countries could create a travel corridor with the UK, though, which would allow restriction-free travel.
Brits will be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However the rules in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are different – Brits could make a 90-day trip to any of them and still not use up their 90-day allowance for other EU countries.
Business travellers may need a visa, likewise those wanting to stay in a country longer to work or study may also need a visa or permit.
And from 2022, UK nationals will need to pay for a visa-waiver scheme in order to travel to a number of European countries.
Passports must have been issued within the last 10 years, and travellers will need at least six months left on them.
You can use the government’s passport checker to make sure a passport is valid.
Brits will no longer be able to use the EU fast-track passport customs lanes.
When arriving in an EU country (except Ireland) they must be prepared to show their return ticket. Travellers may also be asked to show they have enough money for their stay.
All European Health Insurance Cards (which enabled Brits to access state-provided medical treatment if they fell ill or had an accident in EU countries) issued before the end of 2020 will be valid until their expiry date (which is labelled on the front of the card).
The UK government has said it will issue a new card called the UK Global Health Insurance Card, which like EHIC, will reportedly cover chronic or existing illnesses, routine maternity care and emergencies. However there are no details yet as to when it will start.
The government is advising Brits to buy travel insurance with healthcare cover before going on holiday – especially if travellers have a pre-existing medical condition.
The free roaming charges Brits have enjoyed throughout the EU will end on 1 January.
Brits have been told to check with their mobile provider as to whether they are likely to face extra charges but the UK’s four main operators have said they have no plans to reintroduce roaming fees.
Brits will need to take their driving licence, log book (V5C) and valid insurance documents.
They will need a GB sticker for their car and also need to contact their insurer six weeks before you travel to get a green card that will prove you have insurance.
Pet passports issued in England, Scotland and Wales will not be valid for travel to the EU from 1 January 2021.
Instead, if you want to take your pet to the EU, Brits will need to have an animal health certificate and your pet will need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. The same rules will apply if you are taking your pet to Northern Ireland.
Passengers from England, Scotland and Wales travelling to EU countries will be able to take advantage of duty-free shopping from January 2021. Tobacco and alcohol limits will increase.
But there will no longer be tax-free airport sales of goods like electronics and clothing.
Abta also has a snapshot guide to travel in Europe from January 1 - click here for more information.