Touring Europe if there’s no Brexit deal

Advice for arts, cultural, creative, heritage and sports organisations on touring Europe after a no Brexit deal


After a no deal Brexit there will be changes that will affect a range of organisations including arts, cultural, creative, heritage and sports organisations touring Europe. Use our 2 step-by-step guides - one covering People and the other for Objects, animals and equipment - to make sure you’re prepared.

1. People

Questions to consider before your trip

Do your employees have more than 6 months remaining on their UK passport?

Do you have appropriate health and travel insurance?

Have you contacted the relevant EU social security institution to check whether you will need to pay social security contributions in the EU countries you are touring to?

Do you or your employees need visas or work permits?

Will you be driving in countries in the EU and taking your own vehicle?

Are you engaging a professional lorry driver? Consider the requirements for UK lorry and goods vehicle drivers to drive professionally in the EU.

Step 1 - check passports and travel

You should have at least 6 months left on your passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). You can stay up to date with passport changes by registering for email alerts.

Travelling to the EU for the purposes of work and for certain business activities, including touring multiple EU states, may require extra conditions.

You’ll need to check individual EU Member State immigration rules for more information regarding visits, and whether there are any requirements or conditions around supporting documentation, work permits or visas. Travel to Ireland will not change.

Step 2 - check UK self-employed workers in the EU

If you are a UK self-employed worker in the EU and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation for the duration of the period shown on the form.

If the end date on your form is after Brexit, you should contact the relevant EU or EEA authority to confirm whether you need to start paying social security contributions in that country after Brexit, as well as UK National Insurance contributions.

Read Social security contributions for UK and EU, EEA or Swiss workers in a no-deal Brexit for more information.

If you are a UK or Irish national working in Ireland, your position will not change after Brexit. You are covered under the UK-Ireland social security international agreement signed in February 2019 and you won’t need to do anything differently.

If you are a UK, Swiss or EU national moving from the UK to work in Switzerland your position will not change before 31 December 2020. You or your employer will not need to do anything different.

Step 3 - set-up health and travel insurance

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card may not be valid after a no deal Brexit. Ensure you have appropriate health and travel insurance.

Read advice on buying travel insurance with the right cover.

Step 4 - get ready to drive in Europe

If you’re taking your vehicle to countries in the EU, you’ll need:

  • a ‘green card’ - allow 1 month to get this from your vehicle insurance company

  • a GB sticker

  • an International Driving Permit (IDP) for some countries. Check if you need an IDP, and which type you need, on the Post Office website. You can buy them over the counter in participating branches if you do. Each permit costs £5.50.

If you’re planning to run unscheduled bus or coach services in EU countries you’ll need additional documents.

Drivers will need to carry with them:

You should check if you need an ECMT International Road Haulage Permit. There is an exemption from permit requirements for ‘transport for non‑commercial purposes of properties, accessories and animals to or from theatrical, musical, film, sports or circus performances, fairs or fetes, and those intended for radio recordings, or for film or television production.

See the guidance: ECMT international road haulage permits There is also guidance on EU Community Licences for International Road Haulage which confirms that EU Community Licences remain valid until 31 December 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Read Run international bus or coach services and tours after Brexit and Drive in the EU after Brexit: bus and coach drivers for more detailed guidance.

2. Objects, animals and equipment

Questions to consider before your trip

Have you checked the customs processes in the country you are travelling to?

Do you know exactly what you are taking with you and its value?

Have you checked the relevant guidance for providing services to countries in the EU after 31 October?

Do you have an EORI number? Does it start with the letters ‘GB’?

Step 1 - make sure you have permission to take goods in and out of the EU for business

Most countries have a limit on the value of goods you can bring in duty free.

If you’re taking goods to another country temporarily for business reasons and you think you’ll be over the duty free limit, you can usually get an ATA Carnet to avoid paying duty. This includes things like:

  • samples to show at trade fairs or sales meetings

  • publicity materials

  • recorded film and audio

  • equipment you need for work like laptops, cameras or sound equipment

  • goods for educational, scientific or cultural purposes

  • personal effects and sports goods

Consider engaging a customs intermediary (such as a broker or a freight forwarder) to help you plan your journeys and navigate customs procedures. You can ask them about the suitability and cost-effectiveness of the procedures involved.

You may need to be able to identify all your items to the customs authorities, and you will need to know their value for customs declarations. Read how to value items for UK customs purposes.

Read Organisations, businesses and individuals in the creative, cultural, and sport sectors - what to expect on day one of a no-deal Brexit and Take goods temporarily out of the UK for more detailed guidance.

Find out what to do in a no-deal Brexit if you use roll on roll off locations to transport items and goods to the UK from the EU, including via Eurotunnel. See also the list of roll on roll off locations.

Step 2 - Get an EORI number that starts with GB to move your goods into or out of the EU

You will not be able to buy goods from or sell goods to the EU without an EORI number. An EORI number is a European Union registration and identification number for businesses which import or export of goods in or out of the EU.

The EORI mythbuster fact sheet will help you decide if you need an EORI number.

If you do, you should apply for an EORI number as soon as possible. HMRC is helping businesses get ready for Brexit by automatically issuing them with a UK EORI number.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK will no longer operate under the European Economic Area (EEA) regulations for the cross-border trade in services. Read Providing services to the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland after Brexit: collected guidance for more detail.

Step 3 - check any sector specific requirements

Check if you need a licence to export cultural objects by reading the guidance on Exporting or importing objects of cultural interest if there’s no Brexit deal. Arts Council England (ACE) administers these and you can read its Procedures and Guidance for Exporters.

Check if any objects you’re taking abroad contain material such as from species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). If they do, check that you have the necessary licences. Also see Trading and moving endangered species protected by CITES if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

Most countries have import rules for live animals, including horses and other equines. Read Export horses and ponies: special rules for detailed guidance.

Published 2 October 2019