Travel and transport after Brexit (holidays, pets and haulage)

Last updated: 5 January 2021

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. This process is often known as 'Brexit'.

The UK Government and the EU have now agreed a deal on their future relationship. From 1 January 2021 this new relationship with the EU will begin.

There will be effects on some areas of life in Scotland. This includes changes to travel to and from EU countries.

This page will be updated to give the latest facts. Keep checking back for new information.

Travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change from 1 January 2021.

This includes travel to these countries by air, sea, coach, rail or Eurotunnel shuttle. Your legal rights as a passenger will stay the same.

You may also need to make different arrangements in advance if you plan to travel with a pet.

GOV.UK has guidance on travelling to EU countries from 1 January 2021 on this.

Passports

To travel to an EU country from 1 January 2021, you'll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

You can go to GOV.UK to:

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.

Entering other countries

GOV.UK has more information on what you need to when entering other countries.

This includes:

  • things you might need to show at border control
  • visas you might need
  • taking food or drink into EU countries
  • taking plants and plant products into EU countries

Holidays and travel

If you're planning to travel by air, sea, coach, rail or Eurotunnel shuttle from 1 January 2021, all these services are expected to run as normal.

However, before you leave you should check:

If any of these services are delayed or cancelled, your consumer rights will stay the same.

Travel insurance

You might not be able to use a UK issued, European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from 1 January 2021.

This means, you must make sure that you have suitable insurance and healthcare cover, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.

Using an EHIC from 1 January 2021

UK nationals living and working in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein on 31 December 2020, will still be able to use an EHIC from the 1 January 2021.

The EHIC must be issued in the country they're living in.

UK Pensioners and people getting UK benefits

UK issued EHICs can still be used from 1 January by:

  • UK state-pensioners (S1 holders) living in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein on 31 December 2020
  • people getting a UK benefit while living in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein on 31 December 2020

UK students

UK students studying in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein on 31 December 2020, will need to apply for a new EHIC if their course continues beyond 2020.

EU nationals living in the UK

If you're an EU national living in the UK you'll also be able to use EHICs for travel from 1 January 2021. But you may need to reapply for one.

You can find more information on applying for an EHIC from 1 January 2021 on the NHS website.

You can also find information about accessing healthcare where you live if you're:

Mobile roaming

From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end.

Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1 January 2021.

You can find more information on mobile roaming on GOV.UK.

Driving in the EU

If you're planning to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein 1 January 2021 and have a UK Driving Licence, you may need to apply for and carry an International Driving Permit.

You'll also need to:

Travelling with pets to the EU and Northern Ireland

From 1 January 2021, you'll need to make additional health preparations and will need extra documents to travel with your pet cat, dog or ferret to the EU and Northern Ireland. This includes assistance dogs.

To travel to the EU and Northern Ireland, pet owners must:

  • microchip their dog, cat or ferret
  • vaccinate their dog, cat or ferret against rabies (pets must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated)
  • wait 21 days after the vaccination before travelling
  • treat dogs against tapeworm 24-120 hours before arriving in another country, if they're travelling to a tapeworm free country
  • visit their vet to get an animal health certificate (AHC) for their pet, no more than 10 days before travelling to the EU. You'll need a new AHC for each trip.

Your pet will also need to enter the EU and Northern Ireland through a designated Travellers Point of Entry.

GOV.UK has more information and advice on travelling with pets.

Travelling for business

As well as the actions all travellers need to take, there are extra actions if you're travelling to the EU for business.

You can find out what you need to do to travel to the EU for business on GOV.UK.

Travelling as a haulier

If you're travelling in Europe as haulier from 1 January 2021, there may be changes to the rules on licences, permits and qualifications which apply to you.

Hauliers and commercial drivers will need the correct documents to drive in the EU should the UK leave without a deal.

Hauliers will be need to go through customs checks. It's the responsibility of traders to make sure that the right paperwork is in place provided for the goods being carried.

You can find:

More information

More details on travel from 1 January 2021 will be added to this page as new information is available.

Meanwhile, there are a number of other sites you can check for updates: