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Post-Brexit travel

We know people will have questions about travelling after Brexit so we've put together a Q&A which will hopefully make things as clear as possible.

Although the following information is subject to change on the advice of the UK Government, we do know that the UK and EU will engage under new rules from January 1, 2021. That might mean some changes to how we travel.

What doesn't change is the fact you can still travel from Edinburgh to countries within the EU.

We will attempt to keep this page as current as possible and further information is also available on the UK Government website.

Departing passengers

Do I need to change my passport?

We would always recommend checking the latest information on passport requirements on the UK Government website, particularly in relation to the country you are travelling to - that can be accessed by clicking here.

If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must meet the Schengen area rules.

Your passport must meet 2 requirements. It must be:

  • less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

If you need more information then please visit the UK Government website.

Will I need a visa to travel to the EU?

It depends on the reason and length of travel.

The UK Government advice states that if you are a tourist then you won't need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, and you'll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

However different rules to apply to some countries, such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total.

You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel.

The best thing to do is check the travel advice page for the country you are visiting ahead of travel and find out what you need to do.

I'm travelling on business - do I need any additional documents?

It is possible that you will require additional documentation if you are a UK citizen travelling to the EU for business reasons.

Information for business travellers can be viewed on the UK Government website.

When I arrive in the EU, will there be additional checks for UK citizens?

Yes, that is a possibility.

UK citizens may have to use separate lanes at immigration, and you may also be asked to show a return or onward ticket and proof that you have enough money for your stay.

The latest advice is available on the UK Government website.

Do I need health insurance to travel to the EU?

It's always important to have the appropriate travel insurance ahead of travel.

From January 1 2021, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which provides you the right to access emergency state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay, may not be valid.

You can read the latest UK Government advice here.

Can I still buy duty-free and tax-free goods ahead of travelling to the EU?

Yes and no.

UK citizens travelling to the EU will be able to purchase duty-free on excise goods (alcohol and tobacco). Allowances may change and more information is available here.

Tax-free sales will end, however. The UK Government is ending tax-free sales in airports on non-excise goods (electronics, clothing, cosmetics etc). The UK Government advice is available here.

I'm an EU citizen - can I still use the VAT return scheme?

The VAT refund scheme for all visitors to the UK will end from 1 January 2021 following a decision from the UK Government.

EU and non-EU visitors will be able to purchase goods tax- free in store if they arrange for all goods to be shipped to their overseas address. More information is available on the UK Government website.

What about my pet, can I still travel with it?

If your airline is happy with that then yes – but there will be a different process to get an animal health certificate.

The existing pet passport scheme will end on January 1 2021 so you must ensure you have the correct documentation for your pet and that it has the correct vaccinations.

We would recommend contacting your vet well in advance of travel to allow you to plan ahead. More information on travelling with your pet is available here.

Arriving passengers

I'm an EU citizen arriving into the UK - what changes will I experience at Edinburgh Airport?

The UK Government has confirmed that Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will continue to be able to travel to the UK for holidays or short trips without needing a visa. You’ll be able to cross the UK border using a valid passport which should be valid for the whole time you are in the UK.

More information is available here.

What about the E-Gates, can I still use them?

Yes, EU citizens can continue to use the E-Gates to cross the Border if you have a biometric passport.

Will I need a visa?

No. The UK Government has confirmed that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will continue to be able to travel to the UK for holidays or short trips without needing a visa. You’ll be able to cross the UK border using a valid passport which should be valid for the whole time you are in the UK.

More information is available here.

I'm travelling with my pet, do I need follow a different process?

No - there will be no change to the current health preparations for pets entering GB from 1 January 2021. More information is available on the UK Government website.

Am I allowed to bring duty-free goods back to the UK?

Yes but there will be changes to personal allowances.

There will be restrictions on the volume of alcohol and cigarettes you can bring home, and on the value of other goods. If you go over these limits then you may face financial penalties.

For further information on these allowances, please read the guidance on the UK Government website.

Latest guidance

You may also have questions on driving in EU countries, mobile roaming charges, taking food and plants into the EU...we know people will be seeking answers on various different things. And of course all of the information we have provided is subject to sudden change.

We would advise all passengers to visit the information pages on the UK Government website and find out what they need to know ahead of travel.