Travel to Europe from UK in 2022
What are the latest Covid rules around travel to Europe from the UK?
The success of the vaccination roll out now means it’s much easier than it was to travel throughout the European Union. However, it’s important not to be too lax, so make sure you check entry requirements before your departure date. As we have all seen, the situation can change quickly.
- If you’re fully vaccinated, it’s likely that you won’t need to show evidence of a negative PCR before you travel.
- If you haven’t been fully vaccinated, you’ll likely need to show proof of a negative PCR instead.
You should be able to use your NHS Covid pass as proof of vaccination (don’t rely on an appointment card). However, it’s always worth double checking with the specific country you’re travelling to.
What are the key things I need to check before I travel to Europe post- Brexit?
- Passports: find out if you need to renew
- Health insurance cards: get the lowdown on the new Global Health Insurance card
- Visas: find out if you’ll need a visa for your destination : make sure you have the right car insurance and find out if you need an international driving permit
- Taking pets abroad: arrange an animal health certificate
- Border checks: prepare for more questions at the border
- Changes to duty free: familiarise yourself with the new allowances
- Internet and roaming charges: check the terms of your deal to avoid a painful bill
- Travel insurance: get the lowdown on the cover you need
Is my British passport still valid after Brexit?
If you’re planning a trip to places like Spain, France, Italy or Greece, you might be wondering if you need a new passport or need a certain amount of time left on them to travel.
The good news is existing British passports after Brexit are still valid – they just need to be less than 10 years old and have at least six months’ left on them
This change doesn’t apply when travelling to Ireland – so long as your passport is valid during your stay, you should be okay.
If you need a new passport, be aware applications might take slightly longer than normal to process due to the pandemic.
What about my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?
With a few exceptions, you won’t be able to get a new EHIC. It has been replaced by the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).
You can carry on using existing EHICs until they run out. The expiry date is be shown on the card.
You can use an existing EHIC or GHIC within the EU and Switzerland. The government says more countries may be added in the future.
You can find out more about the rules surrounding who can use EHICs and GHICs and where they can be used on GOV.UK.
It’s important not to rely solely on your EHIC or GHIC card. You can only use it to access state supplied healthcare. This means that without a travel insurance policy that covers medical costs, you may still end up with a hefty medical bill.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you might want to think about taking out specific pre-existing medical travel insurance.
Check your policy details or get in touch with your insurance provider for more information.
Do I need a visa to travel to Europe?
If you’re going on holiday for fewer than 90 days, you shouldn’t need a visa to travel to Europe.
What about driving from the UK to Europe?
If you’re planning on driving your car in Europe, you’ll need:
- A UK sticker displayed clearly on the rear of your vehicle.
- If you have a photocard driving licence, you won’t need an international driving permit (IDP) for driving in the EU. If you have a paper licence or are travelling to a non-EU country, you may need to get an appropriate IDP. : All UK car insurance policies provide basic third-party cover for most countries in Europe and so you shouldn’t need a green card as proof of insurance. However as this is only third-party you may want to discuss more comprehensive cover with your insurance company. You can find a full list of countries where you may need a green card on the government website.
What travel insurance do I need to travel to Europe from the UK?
A standard travel insurance policy for Europe should do the job.
However, with so many changes, it’s important to get the right level of cover for your trip. Two important things to consider when getting a policy are:
- Medical cover: You want to ensure that if you incur any medical expenses on your trip are included. Although your EHIC or GHIC provides some cover it wouldn’t get you flown home in an emergency, unlike a travel insurance policy.
- Cancellation cover: With things still uncertain during the pandemic, it’s important to know that you’ll get your money back if certain emergencies force you to cancel or cut short your trip.
So taking out travel cancellation cover could be a good idea.
Make sure you get cover for the whole family. A family travel insurance policy ensures every single member has cover, not just you.
Compare travel insurance
What else can I do to protect myself?
If you can, use a credit card to pay for the holiday
This gives you extra protection under the Consumer Credit Act. So, if the airline goes bust and your insurance policy doesn’t cover it, your credit card company could.
What do I need to know about business travel to the EU after Brexit?
Business travel to EU after Brexit shouldn’t be too complicated for most people. UK nationals are able to enter the EU for business, without a visa, so long as they aren’t going to be staying for longer than 90 days within any six month period.
Business people are be able to attend meetings, conferences and trade fairs, conduct research and participate in training. They should also be able to sign contracts.
However, they aren’t able to deliver goods, supply services or service contracts.
A visa, work permit or other documentation might be needed if:
- You’re self employed and supplying services
- Carrying out contracts or supplying services in a country where your employer doesn’t have a presence
- You’re participating in an ‘intra-corporate’ transfer
You can check on the government website whether you’re likely to need a visa or a work permit for the specific country you’re travelling to.
Taking pets abroad
Pet passports issued in Great Britain are no longer valid.
Before you go abroad, you’ll need to:
- Get your pet microchipped
- Get a rabies vaccination
- Take your pet to the vet 10 days before you travel to get an Animal Health Certificate (AHC).
If you’re travelling to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta, your dog will need tapeworm treatment.
With some exceptions, you can’t travel with more than five pets.
If you’re travelling to a non-EU country, you’ll need to fill in an export application form, and get an export health certificate.
For more information, visit GOV.UK.
Will I still get free mobile internet in Europe?
You’ll no longer enjoy free mobile phone roaming as standard while on holiday within the EU.
But you’ll have to opt-in to spend over £45 on mobile internet abroad.
With high roaming charges, you could still spend up to that amount without realising it.
This means it’s vital to check your mobile roaming charges before you go.
Will there be border checks?
There’ll likely be stricter border checks, and you’ll need to use a separate queue for EU travellers.
You may also need to show that you have a return ticket and enough money for your stay.
If you’re carrying more than £10,000 in cash, you’ll need to declare it. You can do this up to three days before you travel. For more information, visit GOV.UK.
If you don’t declare it, you could get a fine of up to £5,000.
Changes to duty free
You can still buy certain items duty free, but there’ll be limits on how much you can bring back. These limits are:
- 200 cigarettes
- 50 cigars
- 250g tobacco
- 42 litres of beer
- 18 litres of wine
- 4 litres of spirits
What UK travel documents will I need to travel in Europe after Brexit?
The only documents most of us need to travel in Europe is our passport. Although if it’s a longer stay (90 days or more) or you’re working (not just visiting for a meeting) you may need a visa and or a work permit.
There are other documents it might be able to pack though such as your EHIC or GHIC cards as well as details of your travel insurance policy.
If you’re driving you’ll also need your driving licence and the UK car sticker and it’s a good idea to have details of your car insurance to hand too.
Will I need to pay to travel to Europe from the UK?
Before the end of 2022 visitors from the UK need to pay a 7 euro processing fee when they enter the EU.
What about travel to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechenstein?
The rules around healthcare for these countries are slightly different, as they aren’t members of the EU.
In Switzerland to use your EHIC or GHIC you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re a:
- British national
- Swiss national
- EU citizen
- Stateless person
- Dependent of one of the above
In Norway you can use your passport to access certain healthcare, for example emergency treatment.
If you’re travelling to any of these countries, the government advises to check entry requirements before you go.
Flying On A One-Way Ticket: How To Avoid Problems
I recently got this question via e-mail from a reader:
“How strict are the immigration officials and/or the airlines about the required return/onward tickets? I’ll be going travelling for a long time (open end) and am trying to decide whether to buy a RTW or single tickets and this is a crucial point for the decision.”
This is a great question. Unfortunately, this is an issue you could face anywhere when flying internationally, and the answer is not always so clear-cut. Let me explain.
The problem with one-way tickets
Here’s the reason why airlines can often throw up a fuss when you try to fly on a single ticket to another country:
Technically speaking, immigration officials can deny you entry to a country for all sorts of different reasons. If that were to happen, the airline would be liable for flying you back to your point of origin.
Airlines don’t want that!
So, even though it’s them who sold you the one-way ticket in the first place, they might have questions for you once you get to the check-in desk.
For example, they might ask you about your return ticket or proof of onward travel. They don’t want to risk having to fly you back if there’s an issue.
You can travel internationally on one-way tickets many times and not get asked anything, then one day you can be denied boarding. The reality is that a lot depends on the airline’s policies, where you are trying to fly, and if you are unlucky that day.
Quick solution: onward ticket
With Onwardticket.com you can get a legitimate temporary ticket for proof of onward travel, which expires after 48 hours.
Here’s what happened to me
Since I often visit multiple countries on one trip, I routinely fly one-way. This lets me start in one country and end my trip in another.
A few times, I’ve had difficulties in flying one-way. I’ve never had issues with immigration, always with the airlines.
One time, I was going to fly one-way from London to Mexico with Virgin Atlantic. Immediately, I was asked why I didn’t have a return. I explained I was a backpacker heading off on a long trip, with no return booked yet. I also explained I’d not be in Mexico for longer than the 90 days given by the visa-on-arrival. This was enough for the staff to drop the subject.
Another time, I nearly missed my flight. This was flying one-way from Singapore to the Philippines. Only 15 minutes before check-in closed, I was told I couldn’t board without proof of onward travel.
I still got on my flight, but not without running around the terminal like a headless chicken looking for a WiFi hotspot where I could book the cheapest possible flight out of the Philippines. I was the last passenger to make it onto the plane, sweating heavily and out of breath.
When flying from Miami to Honduras, I ran into the same issue. This time, the staff at the check-in desk kindly booked a refundable return for me. They gave me a phone number I could call as soon as I’d landed to cancel the return. That’s the only time I was offered such a service.
How to avoid problems
Of course, if you’re flying domestically, you don’t have to worry about taking one-way flights. The same goes if you’re flying within the same travel jurisdiction, like the Schengen zone in Europe.
Otherwise, you may want to reduce the risk of any issues when flying one-way in one of these ways:
- Arrive at the airport early. If they refuse to check you in, you’ll still have time to buy a (throw-away or refundable) ticket in a pinch.
- If asked, buy a refundable return ticket. If the staff doesn’t give you issues, great! If they do demand to see ‘proof of onward travel’, go online at the airport and buy a refundable return ticket. If none are available, consider getting a super cheap morning flight with no luggage. You’re not going to use this ticket, it’s only to satisfy the bureaucracy, so just get whatever is cheapest.
- Book a cheap bus or train. It’s best to have a return flight, but a cheap train or bus ride out of the destination country may work too. No guarantees, but I’ve heard a few travelers use this successfully.
- Buy a temporary onward ticket (easiest solution). The best way to avoid problems is to simply create a temporary return ticket. It will cost far less than buying any other ticket and give you valid proof of onward travel.
Keep in mind the goal is just to show you can leave the destination country. You don’t need a return ticket all the way home, it can be enough just to have a flight to a neighboring country.
Buying a temporary onward ticket
If you choose the solution of buying a temporary return ticket, I recommend using Onwardticket.com. They’re a travel agency that will book you a 100% real flight ticket that is valid for 48 hours. Instead of paying the full price for a return ticket, you only pay a $12 service fee.
This is different from other services found around the web that will create a fake ticket, just to use as ‘proof of onward travel’. Of course, the legality of this is questionable… in that it’s absolutely not! I don’t recommend such services that promote fraud, some of which are even known as scams.
To be clear, Onwardticket gives you a complete and real ticket, for a fee of $12, that they cancel after your one-way flight is completed. You can see that Onwardticket has a 4.7 rating on TrustPilot, and I know some of the people who work for Onwardticket, which is why I’m happy to recommend them instead of other providers.
Flying one-way is often necessary, especially if you travel long-term, are a digital nomad, or simply flying back from another country. It would be crazy to have to pay for a return flight you’ll never use, so using a cheap disposable ticket for your proof of onward travel is the perfect solution.
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How To Provide Proof Of Onward Travel (The Weird Flying Rule)
Proof Of Onward Travel Rule
Flying Travel Tips
Planning to travel internationally on a one-way flight? You might have a problem. Some airlines and countries require proof of onward travel. Here’s how you can get it.
“Before you can board this flight, I need to see your proof of onward travel.“
What?! But I’m traveling on a one-way ticket!
I remember the first time this happened to me. I was checking in at Boston’s Logan Airport for an international one-way flight to Bangkok, Thailand.
Excited to be flying to Southeast Asia for the first time, I was planning to spend a few months living in Chiang Mai and backpacking around Asia as a digital nomad.
I was flying there on a one-way flight ticket to save money, and also I wasn’t sure how long I’d stay…
One month or three? Would I even go back to the United States? Maybe I’ll travel to another country overland. I simply hadn’t planned that far ahead yet.
However due to my American privilege and inexperience with international travel, it never crossed my mind that this would be a problem.
Can’t I just buy another ticket when I’m ready to leave? Nope.
Welcome to the Proof Of Onward Travel rule. It kinda sucks.
Proof Of Onward Travel Guide 2021
Ready To Fly?
You can “rent” a cheap ticket confirmation to use as proof of onward travel for airlines.
Special Flying Rules
What Is Proof Of Onward Travel?
Proof of onward travel means that airlines and governments want to make sure you are not illegally immigrating to their country, so they need to see proof of a return ticket home.
Basically, some countries want to make sure you aren’t attempting to move there on a tourist visa and never leave. It happens all the time here in the United States, and other countries too.
They are trying to prevent illegal immigration.
Government officials need to see proof that you plan on flying out, respecting the rules of their tourist visa.
They want to see proof of onward travel back to your home or at least to another destination.
So while you can technically travel on a one-way ticket, they also need some kind of official return ticket confirmation showing that you are leaving the country eventually.
They won’t necessarily care where that ticket goes, just as long as it’s out of their country.
Airline Flying Requirements
Many countries actually pass this responsibility on to airlines, meaning that it’s the airline check-in desk who will ask to see proof of your onward travel before they let you board the flight.
Because if they don’t check, and allow you on the flight with a one-way ticket, but immigration officials refuse to let you in, the airline will be responsible for the costs of flying (deporting?) you back to your home country, along with possible fines.
Some airlines are very strict about the proof of onward travel rule.
If you can’t provide proof, you won’t be allowed to board your flight. Or they’ll ask you to buy a return ticket from them right then and there — which can often cost hundreds of dollars more than you want to spend.
Onward Travel Rules & Digital Nomads
If you’re a digital nomad too, I feel your pain. Why can’t they just make it easy and allow me to travel on a one-way ticket, trusting me when I tell them I plan to leave in two months?
Some of us prefer to travel spontaneously, without plans!
Most backpackers, long-term travelers, and digital nomads are on a tight budget, trying to make their money last as long as possible. Or they aren’t exactly sure which country they want to visit next. Or they want to travel overland by bus.
Buying round trip tickets just isn’t in the cards for everyone.
Don’t take it personally though. These are their rules for onward travel, and we have to respect them. We have similar laws for foreigners attempting to visit our own countries.
Luckily there are a few easy (and legal) ways to get around this proof-of-onward-travel requirement, so you can travel on a one-way ticket, and not be forced to plan your entire trip down to the last detail.
How To Get Proof Of Onward Travel
Time To Fly!
If you think you may need proof of onward travel during your travel adventure, there are a few legal ways to get around the rules without having to buy round trip tickets everywhere you go.
1: Buy A Refundable Ticket
If you don’t mind waiting a while (sometimes months) to receive a refund, buying a fully refundable second one-way return ticket is definitely possible.
To make it work, you’ll need to buy that second ticket before you leave for your destination.
Once you’ve entered the country, cancel your exit ticket, and wait for the refund.
Just make sure to read the fine print — because some airlines charge cancellation fees, or only refund tickets using flight vouchers instead of cash.
2: Rent A Ticket Confirmation
The safest/cheapest option is to “rent” an airline ticket confirmation from a real-life travel agency. This is what I usually do.
OneWayFly.com is a service that books a real return ticket in your name, then cancels it for you later.
It only costs $19, and you’ll get your official ticket confirmation within hours. It’s cheaper than buying your own ticket and safer than trying to forge one (don’t do that!). This is the option I recommend.