Travelling to the EU after Brexit

As the UK’s relationship with the EU changes, there will be revisions to the reciprocal travel arrangements between both parties. We’ve already experienced considerable disruption to schedules as a result and we can anticipate further changes as the transition period draws to a close.  

Although many of the proposed changes being discussed in the media have not yet been agreed, we do anticipate changes to pet travel arrangements, the personal goods you can bring into or out of a country, freight traffic and the travel documentation you may need.  

For our part, we’re as committed to sailing between the UK, France, Spain and Ireland as we have ever been. Our route network has expanded, our fleet investment is undimmed and our confidence in the future continues to grow.  

Undoubtedly in the coming weeks and months the impact of Brexit on travel between the UK and EU will become clearer and we’ll do what we reasonably can to keep you up to date.

There has been and will continue to be plenty of speculation and rumour-mongering among media outlets as agreements and conclusions are reached (we’ve already seen some pretty alarming stories making their way into daily conversation). Our advice in this respect is to avoid the speculation and await clear updates on governmental websites. 

Official guidance

We always recommend checking each country’s specific requirements on the UK government’s website before travel. Visit gov.uk for the latest information.

Your Brexit questions answered

Since 1 January 2021, some of the requirements to enter and travel in the EU have changed.

  • You will need to check that your passport is less than 10 years old with at least 6 months left before the expiry date on the day of travel
  • A visa (or permit) will be necessary to stay for more than 90 days in a 180-day period
  • An International Driving Permit may be required to drive in some EU countries. More information
  • You will have to carry a ‘green card’ to prove that you are insured for the vehicle you are driving. You will also need a separate ‘green card’ if you are towing a trailer or a caravan. The ‘green cards’ will be issued by your insurance company
  • You may be required to show proof of where you intend to stay, for example a booking confirmation or proof of address if visiting your own property (e.g. a second home). If you are staying with friends or family you may need to obtain an ’attestation d’accueil’ in France or a ‘carta de invitation’ in Spain (welcome invitation) from your host
  • You may also need to show proof that you have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay
  • You can find more information on the UK government website for those travelling to France and those travelling to Spain 

You will be allowed to travel to the UK with an Identity card until 30 September 2021. From 1 October 2021, a valid passport will be required.

You will be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. You can enter the Schengen area more than once during that period, but the overall period of stay must not exceed the total of 90 days within any 180-day period.

A short-stay calculator tool can be found on the European Commission website.

You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work, study or for business travel.

Yes! We are really pleased that you’ll still be able to take your much loved pets with you when you sail with us. However there have been changes post-Brexit. 

Dogs, cats and ferrets

Now that the UK has left the European Union and you can find the latest guidance from DEFRA on taking your pet to the EU here.

Other pets which are not dogs, cats or ferrets (e.g. turtles or parrots)

If you would like to take a pet that is not a dog, cat or ferret to France and Spain then the rules have changed. You may need an EU Health or CITES certificate. For more information, there are English versions available on the official websites for those travelling to France and those travelling to  Spain.

Should you have a specific question regarding your pet travel following EU exit, please email us at pettravelexpert@brittanyferries.com.

Your European Health Insurance Card can still be used until it expires. After that date, you will need to apply for a new EHIC (subject to specific conditions) or a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). More information can be found on the NHS website.

Free mobile phone roaming will end on 31 December 2020 but a new law is now capping mobile data charges. When you reach the limit set by the law, your phone operator will have to contact you to ask for your permission to keep roaming.

There will be new rules regarding Food and Plants taken to the EU so we would recommend clicking on those links to check the new restrictions. 

In brief, from the 1st January 2021, people travelling from the UK into the EU with plants and plant products, as well as products of animal origin (POAO) - such as anything containing meat or dairy - will need to consume or dispose of them before or at the EU border. The rules will apply for food and drink for personal consumption (as opposed to commercially traded), whether carried in luggage, vehicles, or on their person. 

There are exceptions to this rule for certain quantities of powdered infant milk, infant food, special foods or special processed pet feed required for medical reasons and confectionery.