Travelling to France and the EU – A Traveller’s checklist
We have been so concentrated on the Pandemic for the last couple of years that the changes agreed during the Brexit Negotiations have slipped into force almost un-noticed . This is a summary of the changes that travellers need to be aware of.
We are already aware of some travellers falling foul of these changes, and missing out on flights and holidays as a result.
This is not comprehensive – if you are at all unsure, please contact the relevant authorities for up to date information.
So what should you be checking before you depart?
PASSPORTS – EU plum coloured passports remain valid for travel, but the life of your passport may be shorter than your passport indicates: EU officials are interpreting the valid life of UK Passports at 10 years from the date of issue. This means that it may be rejected for travel even though it is within the expiry date.
You are also recommended not to travel with less than 6 months remaining on your passport – ie 9 years and 6 months from the issue date.
HOW LONG CAN I STAY? UK Citizens can stay in the EU for a maximum of 90 days without a visa. This is in the EU as a whole – you cannot go to another EU country and start another 90 days.
DOCUMENTS Many reading this post will be travelling to camping holidays and gite rentals. Beside your Passport, Driving Licence and Vaccination certificate there are several documents that you should be able to produce if requested ( Printed copies are recommended)
For holiday makers – Evidence of your booking (invoice or booking confirmation)
For personal guests staying with friends or family – an ‘Attestation d’accueil’ which your host should obtain from their local mairie
The full postal address of where you will be staying
Proof of travel insurance and valid GHIC/EHIC card
Proof of funds if you are not staying at one address (ie touring)
Proof of return travel, or onward travel out of the EU within 90 days.
CUSTOMS – YOUR OUTWARD JOURNEY
You should not take: flowers, plants and plant products, firewood, animal products – so that means no bacon, cheese, sausages, etc – but also all animal-derived products, including milk (so no suet puddings, custard, sweets containing gelatine, and even chocolate – as it contains milk)
You may bring up to 200 cigarettes, 4L of wine or 16L of beer into the EU duty-free.
You may bring prescription medications for personal use without a prescription, unless you are bringing more than three months’ supply – in which case, you must present a prescription.
CUSTOMS – YOUR HOMEWARD JOURNEY
You can bring most meat, fish, dairy and other animal products into the UK, providing they are of EU origin.
You may bring new items purchased or gifts received in France into the UK without filling out a customs declaration form if they do not exceed your personal allowance.
You may bring alcohol back from France up to 42L of beer, 18L of wine (or 9L of sparkling or fortified wine), or 4L of spirits and other liquors. Tobacco: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g pouch tobacco.
**VAT NOTE – You may be able to reclaim VAT on certain purchases: Retailers will usually have details.
TRAVEL BY CAR
Your car should have UK stickers, and the former GB part of numberplates with the EU stars should be covered with a UK sticker
The legal requirements for equipment to be carried remains unchanged for France ( High vis vests, warning triangles etc) – Please check for current information.
You are recommended to have European breakdown insurance cover.
CHECK THAT YOUR VEHICLE INSURANCE IS VALID FOR TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE UK – your policy may have changed since Brexit
TAKING YOUR PET WITH YOU
UK pets are no longer able to travel to France using the EU passport system – however, they can still accompany their owners to France. All dogs and cats coming to France must be microchipped or tattooed, must be vaccinated for rabies, and must have an Animal Health Certificate issued by a UK vet
Please consult your vet for current information and requirements.
MOBILE PHONES & DATA
Since the UK left the EU, UK operators have been able to reintroduce roaming charges for British customers travelling to France and the EU. It’s essential to check with your service provider whether or not you will be subject to roaming charges in the EU, and if so, you might want to consider taking out a specific travel package to keep costs to a minimum.