Do I need a visa to go on holiday? Can I drive in Europe? All the changes from January 1 after Brexit

Changes are set to come into force as the Brexit transition period ends.

The end of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be at 11pm on December 31 as the UK will leave the single market and customs union.

A post-Brexit trade deal was agreed between the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Union on December 24, four years after the country voted to leave the EU in the referedum.

MPs and peers approved the trade deal following just one day of debate in both Houses on December 30, and in the late hours the Bill received royal assent from the Queen.

As a result, a series of changes to the way we travel to and within the EU will immediately come into force from January 1.

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Here are the key changes you should be aware of.

Will I need a visa to go on holiday to the EU?

The end of the transition period marks the end of freedom of movement rights between the UK and EU.

UK citizens will be able to go on holiday or take a business trip to EU countries but it will not be as straightforward as before.

For short trips to most EU nations, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway, tourists will not need a visa and you will be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, where visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total.

A visa or permit may be needed to stay for longer in an EU country, to work, to study, or for business travel.

Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now and travel to Ireland will not change.

What do I need to do about my passport?

The new blue British passport
(Image: PA)

From January 1, to visit most countries in Europe you will need to renew your passport if it has less than six months until it expires, or if it is more than 10 years old.

The renewal process costs between £75.50 and £85. Passports are now being issued with a new post-Brexit blue design.

Will there be more border checks when arriving at my destination?

British travellers may need to show a return or onward ticket, show they have enough money for their stay st border control, as well as use separate queuing lanes from EU citizens.

UK citizens will not be able to take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries from January 1, apart from certain exceptions such as infant food.

What happens if I need to access healthcare in while in the EU?

UK nationals in the EU will still be able to access healthcare, as will people from member states in Britain.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows British citizens to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in an EU country.

The rules around EHIC’s is changing
(Image: PA)

Existing EHICs will remain valid until they expire. Applications for new cards will see people receive a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to help them get emergency or necessary medical care.

From January 1, GHICs and most UK EHICs will not provide cover in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland and people are advised to take out travel insurance.

The government has warned that an EHIC or GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance, advising travellers, including those with pre-existing conditions, to get insured.

Can I take my pet with me abroad?

The pet passport scheme between the UK and the EU will end on January 1 and any animals taken into the EU will need an Animal Health Certificate.

The UK Government is advising people to allow a month to arrange this and any other vaccinations their animal may need.

Will I be able to drive over to Europe?

Yes, but you will need extra documents to be able to.

UK motorists entering EU countries will need a green card and GB sticker if taking their own vehicle from January 1.

Green cards provide proof of vehicle insurance when driving abroad and should be requested from your insurer at least six weeks before travel.

An international driving permit (IDP) may be needed to drive in some EU countries and Norway if someone has a paper licence, or their licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.

Can I move to the EU after January 1?

For British citizens planning to move after January 1, the automatic right to live and work in the EU ceases when the transition period ends.

This means they will need to apply for residency in accordance with that country’s immigration rules.

Can I study in the EU?

The UK will no longer take part in the Erasmus student exchange programme from next year.

The government said it will be replaced by the £100 million Turing scheme, named after Bletchley Park codebreaker Alan Turing, which will support around 35,000 students to go on placements around the world from September.

Government guidance on visiting Europe states that a visa or permit may be needed for study.

Can I still bring alcohol or cigarettes back to the UK from the EU?

From January, new allowances will restrict how much alcohol and tobacco can be brought from the EU to the UK for personal consumption without having to pay duty.

The limits on alcohol are 42 litres of beer, 18 litres of still wine and four litres of spirits or nine litres of sparkling wine, fortified wine or any alcoholic beverage less than 22% strength.

For tobacco the limit is 200 cigarettes.

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