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What Brexit means for UK travellers to Europe


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They finally made a Brexit deal today, just in time for the end of the transition period on December 31. Brits will now be restricted to visa free travel of 90 days within 180 days, as it is for Americans. The provision for no mobile roaming charges between member countries is gone.

BUT the good news is that the EHIC program continues, meaning that health care is covered for traveling Brits.

From Johnson’s letter to MPs.



100+ Posts
This Euronews article makes it sound like there are still a lot of unknowns about travel between the EU & UK. It mentions the UK government recommends British drivers to have an IDP and that health care may no longer be free, though available, in the EU.

Hopefully they will have the details worked out by the time this pandemic is under control to allow travel.


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I looked at our EHIC cards yesterday, the ones that give us free health care when traveling in Europe, and they expired in September during our Switzerland trip!

I ordered new cards on the EHIC website. The UK government pages say that anyone applying for an EHIC now will get a GHIC (UK Global Health Insurance Card). Your current EHIC card is valid until it expires. Your next one will be a GHIC.

They also say that the EHIC or GHIC after Dec 31 will not be valid in Switzerland (and a few other countries that used to be included)!

It is all very confusing and I can’t find the Gov.uk page that I was reading yesterday!

We have worldwide travel insurance that I get by the year from Direct Line. I selected worldwide because it covers our Israel trips. Europe only insurance is cheaper. Hopefully that will cover for medical emergencies in Switzerland.

(I need a better system for renewing things. My US passport also expired last year without me noticing and I couldn’t renew it until last month because the embassy here closed all passport services.)

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
For those of us who like buying goodies to bring back, if the value goes over £390, then an extra duty of 2.5% is applied (it's confusing re: VAT though, which might risk double payment if you weren't able to buy the goods 'duty-free')

Alcohol limits fine for flyers, though those travelling by car will need to be aware and it's a lot less than the ~ 90L per person that used to be waived through

Also an issue for posting back, as we used to do (I love the archaic nature of Poste Italiane). That's a £135 limit, which we would have gone over on most occasions, and again that 2.5% charge plus double VAT looming over it.

In all instances, it's up to us to provide receipts to prove the cost, or indeed prove we had it in the UK before the holiday (we have to disprove their suspicion, not they proving the suspicion is correct).


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All of this sounds so complicated.
I feel for you!
I don't understand why you would have a limit on how much you would mail to the UK from Europe?
135 pounds isn't very much!

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
As someone joked elsewhere, this might be the first trade deal that actively *introduces* barriers to trade!

Whether we end up with practical processes and pragmatic checks, I don't know. The uncertainty isn't a surprise given the stupidly late conclusion of the deal. Pity the poor businesses having to work all this out, with many simply suspending EU<->UK cross-border sales until things settle down, whilst shipping quotes have gone crazy high, whilst the couriers tackle the dual problems of new bureaucracy / costs, together with the shipping backlogs already there, which were compounded by the new strain of Covid.

We will see where it ends up, but I am not at all surprised by the inauspicious start.


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