Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020


Brexit: what does it mean for UK nationals looking to travel to the EU?

There will be no immediate changes with key documents valid until 2021

From 2021, British people will need to pay for a visa waiver to visit EU countries. Josep Lago / AFP
From 2021, British people will need to pay for a visa waiver to visit EU countries. Josep Lago / AFP

Britain officially leaves the EU on Friday after 47 years as a member of the bloc. From January 31, the UK will have an 11-month transition period to negotiate the terms of its exit and a new EU trade deal. During this period travel to the EU will remain the same.

There will be no changes to existing rules on passports, driving licences, a pan-European health insurance scheme or mobile roaming charges before 2021.

Here’s what we know about British people’s holidays in the EU after Brexit.

Will Britons need a visa to travel to Europe after Brexit?

From 2021 UK citizens can visit the EU for up to 90 days but will be unable to work or study. A reciprocal agreement will cover EU citizens’ travel to the UK.

Instead of travelling for free, as now, Britons would have to pay £6.30 (Dh 30) for a three-year visa to visit 22 EU countries plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. They can still travel for free to the Republic of Ireland.

Will passports still be valid?

British passports will change colour from burgundy from blue on renewal from this year, but both will be valid for travel. From January 1, 2021, Brits will need to have at least six months left on their passports to travel to Europe.

Will there be bigger queues at the airport?

There will be no additional security checks during the transition period so this should not change. Beyond 2020, it will depend on what is negotiated between the UK and the EU in the 11-month transition period.

Are mobile phone charges increasing?

What happens after 2020 depends on Britain’s future economic relationship with the EU. Current rules mean that data and phone charges are uniform across the EU. If nothing is agreed, the UK has passed laws aimed at keeping price rises in check, including a £45-a-month limit on data used abroad.

Updated: February 2, 2020 11:42 AM



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