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30 Jan 2020

Travel after Brexit: will it affect my holiday?

Everything you need to know if you're visiting European Union countries after 31 January

There will be no changes for UK holidaymakers travelling to the European Union after Brexit on 31 January. Rules on passport validity, Ehic healthcare and permits for driving abroad will remain the same until at least the end of the Brexit transition period in December.

British passport holders will not need a Schengen visa and can continue to use the same gates at border checkpoints when visiting EU countries.

Last year, Which? Travel revealed some of the potential consequences of a no-deal Brexit, including lengthy queues at airports in popular holiday destinations. New passports checks would have required an estimated 201 hours of extra immigration checks at Spanish airports.

Will your passport be valid after Brexit?

UK holidaymakers will need a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay when visiting Schengen area countries. Previous government advice that passport holders needed an additional six months validity to travel is now outdated.

Those who are still concerned can check if they need to renew by using the government's online Passport Checker.

UK passport holders will continue to be able to use EU lanes at airports and other ports of entries and won't face any additional checks until at least December 2020.

What's happening with Ehic and Brexit?

UK Ehic cards, which allow for free emergency healthcare for UK residents when abroad, will still be valid throughout 2020.

You can still renew and apply for a new Ehic card through the NHS Ehic website. It's free of charge.

However, holidaymakers should make sure they have appropriate travel insurance that covers their current circumstances, including any medical conditions. If you are unsure, contact your insurer before travel.

Looking for comprehensive holiday cover? See our best and worst travel insurance companies.

Other possible changes after Brexit: driving, data roaming and pets

A full UK driving licence is all you will need to drive in the EU after 31 January.

It is not necessary to have an International Driving Permit, GB sticker or a Green Card for car insurance.

Brits can also still enjoy EU data roaming on their mobile phones at no additional charge.

The rules on taking pets abroad will remain the same, with no changes expected before the end of 2020.

You rights if things go wrong

Many of our consumer rights are in line with EU law. That means protections, such as compensation for flight delays, will remain in place during the transition period.

Package holiday protections will also continue. These regulations provide holidaymakers with the right to a refund if their travel agent or airline goes bust, or free repatriation if your holiday is already underway.

Check you are protected with our guide to package and linked travel arrangements.