Visiting the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

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Checks for all types of travel

You may need to do extra things before you travel to an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, such as:

  • check your passport
  • get travel insurance that covers your healthcare
  • check you have the right driving documents
  • organise pet travel - contact your vet at least 1 month before you go

Check the travel advice for the country you’re visiting for the latest information.

Travelling for work or business - including carrying goods to sell

There are more things to do if you’re travelling for business - for example:

  • going to work meetings and conferences
  • providing services (even with a charity)
  • touring for art or music
  • taking goods to sell - even if it’s a small amount or you’re selling to a friend or relative

Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), read the advice for travelling during the pandemic before you plan your trip.

Passports: check if you need to renew

You may need to renew your British passport before you travel.

You need to do this if, on the day after you leave the country you’re visiting, it is either:

  • valid for less than 3 months
  • more than 10 years old (even if it’s valid for another 3 months or more)

If you’re visiting more than one country in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, your passport must be valid for at least 3 months from the day after you leave the last country you visit.

These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.

Healthcare: check you’re covered

If you’re travelling to an EU country

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) will be valid if you’re travelling to an EU country.

If you’re travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

In Norway you can use a UK passport to get medically necessary healthcare (for example emergency treatment or to treat a pre-existing condition).

If you’re travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you should get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you travel. Make sure it covers any pre-existing conditions that were previously covered by your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

You can read advice on buying travel insurance with the right cover.

Who can apply for a new EHIC

Some people can apply for a new UK EHIC that they can use in EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

People who can apply for the new card include:

  • nationals from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who started living in the UK before 1 January 2021, and their families
  • some British State Pensioners who started living in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein before 1 January 2021, and their families
  • UK students who started living and studying in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein before 1 January 2021

Entering other countries

Border control: you may have to show your return ticket and money

At border control, you may need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay
  • use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing

Your passport will be stamped.

Visas for short trips: you do not need one if you’re a tourist

If you’re a tourist, you do not need a visa for short trips to EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You can stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

If you visit more than one of these countries within a 180-day period, check that you do not spend more than 90 days in total across all the countries you visit. That’s because most of these countries apply the 90-day limit as a group.

There are different rules for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. They each have their own separate 90-day limits. The time you spend in other countries does not affect how long you can spend in each of these countries without a visa.

You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, or to study, work or travel for business. Check the travel advice for each country you’re visiting for more information.

You can travel to and work in Ireland in the same way as before 1 January 2021.

Taking meat and dairy products into the EU

You cannot take the following with you into the EU:

  • meat or products containing meat
  • milk or dairy products

There are some exceptions, for example certain amounts of:

  • powdered infant milk
  • infant food
  • special food for the dietary management of a diagnosed disease, disorder or medical condition
  • pet food required for medical reasons

Check the rules about taking meat and milk products into the EU on the European Commission website.

Taking fruits, vegetables, plants and plant products into the EU

You cannot take the following into the EU unless you pay to have them inspected before you leave and get a ‘phytosanitary certificate’:

  • fresh fruit (apart from bananas, coconuts, dates, pineapples and durians)
  • vegetables
  • plants
  • plant products

Check the rules about taking fruit, vegetables and other plants or plant products into the EU on the European Commission website.

Find out how to get a phytosanitary certificate.

Driving

If you’re taking your own vehicle, you’ll need valid vehicle insurance and a UK sticker.

You might also need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have:

  • a paper driving licence
  • a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

Check with the embassy of the country you’ll be driving in.

Pet travel: allow at least 1 month to arrange

You cannot use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) for your pet. Allow at least 1 month to arrange this and relevant vaccinations.

Follow the guidance for taking your pet dog, cat or ferret abroad.

Free mobile roaming: check with your phone operator

The guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway has ended.

Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you may have to pay.

A new law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing.

Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you’re abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this.

Compensation if your travel is disrupted

Some travel insurance policies only cover certain types of disruption. Check your provider’s terms and conditions to make sure you have the cover you need if your travel is cancelled or delayed.

Your consumer rights have not changed since 1 January 2021. This means that if your travel is cancelled or delayed you may be able to claim a refund or compensation. Check your booking’s terms and conditions to find out more.

If the travel company you’ve booked through goes out of business

You’re protected if you buy a package holiday and the company goes out of business. You get this cover even if it’s an EU company, as long as the company sells to UK customers.

Otherwise, you can claim compensation if you used your credit card to buy it - you’ll be able to claim for payments between £100 and £30,000.

If you live in the EU or you’re an EU citizen

There’s different guidance if you’re: