Travelling to Europe after Brexit in your caravan or motorhome
From January 2021, the rules for travelling between the UK and European Union countries are set to change. If you are planning a motorhome or caravan holiday in Europe, here’s what you need to know…
What do we know about travelling to Europe after Brexit?
The UK’s Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31st December 2020. After that, there are likely to be new rules in place, which may affect things like car and motorhome insurance documentation, health insurance and driving licences.
However, at present, the terms of any new agreement are being discussed, and nothing is for certain yet.
Once the terms are finalised, it’s important to check the rules so you have everything in place in advance of your trip. With the help of the following, you can stay updated:
- This Government website sets out the rules and guidelines for travel to the EU
- In the Shield Total Insurance news hub, we’ll be covering the latest requirements once they are in place, and explaining what they mean for caravan and motorhome owners.
In the meantime, here’s a rundown of the key areas that may be impacted by any changes.
From 1st January 2021, to travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you’ll need your passport to have at least 6 months left on it on the day of travel. This rule does not apply to Ireland. For Ireland, you can still use your passport after 1st January 2021, as long as the expiry date is long enough to cover the stay.
But you need to bear in mind that it takes up to 3 weeks to get a passport online, and it takes longer if applying by post. Lots of people will be keen to get away in 2021 after last year’s lockdown. So if you need to renew, it’s advisable to leave plenty of time to allow for any delays.
Click here to visit our Green Card page for detailed information about Green Cards and how to request them.
A Green Card is a standard document which shows border control staff and police that you have the required minimum motor insurance cover in place.
If there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit, you will need to carry an A4 copy of the Green Card when driving in the EU. Failure to do so could result in denied entry, charges of driving without insurance and possible seizure of your vehicle.
If you are towing a caravan, you will need to have two with you: your car Green Card and caravan Green Card. Some European countries may also require you to carry a Green Card if you are towing a trailer. Both of these should be provided by your car insurer.
International Driving Permits
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is an official, multi-language translation of your driving licence. Each EU country will decide independently whether UK drivers will need IDPs to drive legally in their country, or whether they will still be able to rely on their UK driving licence.
What you will need for each country will depend on the arrangements agreed between the UK government and individual countries. There are three different types of IDP, so it’s possible you may need to carry multiple types if you are driving across several countries.
Ahead of your trip, check the government’s driving abroad website to be aware of the current requirements for the countries you will be travelling through.
From 1st January 2021 onwards, you will need a GB sticker for cars and motorhomes. You will also need a sticker for towed units such as caravans and trailers.
EHIC and health insurance
It seems that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme will no longer be applicable to EU citizens from January 2021.
Please note that in any event, the EHIC is not (and was never intended to be) a replacement for travel health insurance. Whatever is agreed, it’s as important as ever to make sure that you have appropriate travel insurance, including medical and repatriation cover (the cost of getting you home).
Travelling with pets
Regarding the existing EU Pet Travel Scheme, it is still to be decided whether, and to what extent, the existing rules will apply.
If the UK becomes an ‘unlisted’ country, it means that for travel to the EU from 1st January 2021, a current pet passport issued in the UK will not be valid.
So, when your dog or cat travels to the EU for the first time, you’ll need to make certain checks, including microchipping and a rabies vaccination. You’ll also need to obtain a blood sample, and wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before travelling.
In practice, this means preparing at least four months before you travel and seeking advice from your vet. Current official pet travel advice can be found here.
Borders and Schengen visas
At border controls, you may need to produce a return onward ticket and show you have enough money for your stay. When driving across national borders, you might need to abide by special rules for checking non-EU vehicles.
Extra checks can have a knock-on effect on travel timings, especially when everyone is still getting used to the new rules. As such, in the run-up to travel, you should keep up-to-date on information from your ferry line for departures, local traffic delays and recommended check-in times.
As a tourist, you won’t need a Schengen visa for trips to most EU countries. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
If you are involved in a road traffic accident in the EU after 1st January 2021, contact your insurer. From that date, any legal proceedings will need to be brought in the EU or EEA country where the accident happened. Touring caravan legal expenses cover can save you a lot of hassle in dealing with these new requirements.
All set for your European touring holiday
By simply keeping an eye on official announcements, getting practical Brexit-related tips from our very own news hub, sorting any additional paperwork, and putting 5-star rated caravan insurance in place, you are all set for that well-deserved European getaway.
Are you in the mood for a touring trip closer to home while it’s still quiet? Be sure to check out our caravanning in the winter guide. And for everything you need to know about how Brexit will affect your insurance policy, we have some essential reading right here.