Brexit and the transition: What visitors need to know about crossing the UK border and visiting the UK from 1 January 2021
ID cards and visas
When will ID cards cease to be valid for entry to the UK for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens?
What EU, EEA and Swiss citizens need to enter the UK will not change until 1 October 2021. Before that date, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can continue to travel to the UK for holidays or short-term trips, without needing a visa. Visitors will need to show a valid passport or a national identity card if they are a citizen of either:
Can EU/EEA/Swiss citizens still enter the UK with a passport that expires in less than six months?
EU, EEA or Swiss Citizens can still enter the UK using a passport which expires in less than 6 months. Find out more about entering the UK.
How long will EU/EEA/Swiss citizens be able to stay in the UK without a visa?
Currently, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can continue to travel to the UK for holidays or short-term trips, without needing a visa. Visitors can, in most cases, come to the UK for up to six months. A visitor may enter the UK multiple times during that period, but they may not in effect live in the UK by means of repeat or continuous visits. They may not work or access public funds. Currently they may not study for more than 30 days. Please see the official government website for further information.
Can EU/EEA/Swiss citizens visiting the UK still use eGates?
Visitors can use automatic eGates at some airports if they have a biometric symbol on the cover of their passport and they are 12 or over. Using the eGates is usually faster. Find out how to get through border checks as quickly as possible.
Will there be an ESTA system that travellers will have to fill in? If so, will there be any costs involved with the ESTA form?
As part of this phased programme to 2025, the Government will introduce an Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme as part of plans to ensure that all those coming to the UK have permission to do so in advance of travel. Further details of these arrangements will be provided in due course.
The Government will introduce Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs) for visitors and passengers transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays or who do not already have an immigration status prior to travelling.
Can EU citizens come to live and work in the UK after Brexit?
Please visit gov.uk for advice for EU citizens interested in living and working in the UK.
Will anything change for visitors who are non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens?
Will collective visas for school groups still apply?
For the latest updates on collective visas, please check government guidance for school children entering the UK as part of a school group. This explains the steps leaders of school parties must take before bringing school children to the UK as part of a school group from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, if they would normally need a visa to enter the UK
Will the “List of Travellers” still be available?
Non-EEA national school children resident in the EEA or Switzerland will continue to be able to travel to the UK under the List of Travellers scheme until at least 2021. Please visit the official government website for further information.
Will children travelling to Britain for language courses also need a passport?
Yes, children travelling to the UK for language courses will also need a passport.
Border crossings and ferry terminals
What will the impact of Brexit be at borders/ferry terminals?
Flights: Flights will continue and visitors should not experience any difference in security screening.
Eurostar/rail: When travelling between the UK and the EU, visitors’ rights as a rail passenger using either domestic or cross-border rail services will remain unchanged.
Ferry services: The EU regulation on passengers’ rights is now UK law. It will continue to protect passengers on ferry services.
How will border controls be managed when passengers are coming from Ireland?
The Common Travel Area (CTA) is a long-standing arrangement between the UK, the Crown Dependencies (Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Isle of Man) and Ireland that pre-dates both British and Irish membership of the EU and is not dependent on it. As a result, there will continue to be no routine immigration controls on journeys from within Ireland to the UK, with no immigration controls at all on the Northern Ireland – Ireland land border. The Government will continue to work closely with CTA partners to facilitate legitimate travel within the CTA while tackling abuse of these arrangements. Visitors can check the common travel area guidance information page for additional details.
Will the Channel Islands, including Jersey and Guernsey, be exempt from passport requirements?
The Channel Islands, including Jersey and Guernsey, are part of the Common Travel Area (CTA) of the UK and therefore maintain the same changes and standard of immigration control as the UK.
Healthcare for EU citizens visiting the UK
Can citizens from the EU still use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)? If so, how long will the card be valid?
Please note: The future of reciprocal healthcare arrangements between the UK and European Union is subject to negotiations. Please check the official government guidance for further information and updates.
There will be no changes to healthcare access for residents of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland who visit the UK before the end of 2020. Visitors can continue to use their EHIC until the end of 2020 as they do now. Visitors should make sure they bring their EHIC with them when visiting the UK. The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and visitors should have both when they travel to the UK. Visitors should check their insurance has the necessary healthcare coverage to make sure they can get the treatment they need during their visit.
Owners of assistance dogs entering from the EU do not have to travel on approved routes but they must notify the point of entry in advance that they are travelling with an assistance dog to ensure the appropriate checks are done.
Visitors do not have to travel on an approved route if they travel to Great Britain from:
other UK countries
the Channel Islands
the Isle of Man
the Republic of Ireland
Visitors should talk to their vet about what preparations they need to make before they travel from these places.
Find out more about pet travel to Europe, including information on travel from countries not free from tapeworm.
Bringing goods into the UK
What can visitors bring into the UK?
What you can bring into the UK varies depending on whether you are visiting from an EU country or from outside the EU. Visit the official government website for further details on bringing goods into the UK.
Driving in the UK
Will non-UK driving licences be still valid in the UK?
Visitors who have a non-UK driving licence will still be able to drive in the UK. They will not need an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Will EU visitors need UK vehicle insurance?
If a visitor has vehicle insurance issued in the EU, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland, they should carry an insurance green card or other valid proof of insurance.
To be valid, other proof of insurance must be a document issued by the insurer of the vehicle, which includes the:
name of the insurer
number plate or other identifying particulars of the vehicle
period of insurance cover
Visitors should contact their vehicle insurer before they travel.