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How does Brexit affect our travels to EU countries?

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Column by Lynne Page, Grantham-based travel advisor, travel-pa.com

The rules on travelling between the UK and EU countries changed on January 1, 2021. So how does that affect travelling for us?

After December 31, 2020, the UK is no longer treated like a member of the EU and is subject to new rules.

Lynne Page (37469076)
Lynne Page (37469076)

Your current passport will be valid, as long as it is less than 10 years old and has six months left before it expires.

If you do need a new passport (which will be a different colour) the Government has advised to apply in plenty of time.

The current European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) issued before the end of 2020 will be valid until their expiry date.

A new card, called the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), will be issued by the Government. Like EHIC, it will cover chronic or existing illnesses, routine maternity care and emergencies. There is no confirmed date on when this will start. And these do not replace the requirement for comprehensive travel insurance.

When you arrive in an EU country you will no longer be able to use the EU fast-track passport control or customs lanes. You may be asked to show your return ticket, the purpose for your visit and to prove you have enough money for your stay.

You cannot take meat or milk products into the EU, including in snacks – the exceptions being powdered baby milk and food and special foods for medical reasons.

EU pet passports will no longer be valid – there is a lot more to do before taking your pet on holiday.

You should also check with your mobile phone provider as to whether they are planning to reintroduce roaming fees.

Should you wish to drive in Europe, you will need to take your driving licence, log book (V5) and valid insurance documents.

You will also need to contact your insurance provider six weeks before you travel to get a green card that proves you have insurance – these are free of charge.

The good news is you will now be able to take advantage of duty-free shopping and limits on tobacco and alcohol will change…so every cloud!

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