Post-Brexit rules rules for families travelling to France in 2022 

20 Dec 2021 12:09 by Kate Moore


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After Brexit - what are the rules for families travelling to France in 2022? 

It's been a while since families have ventured abroad and many people are unaware of how the rules have changed for British nationals travelling in Europe, Looking ahead to the resumption of family holidays in France from 2022, we’ve summarised the changes to explain how Brexit will impact your next family adventure. 

Preparing for a family adventure in France from 2022 - top tips for families 

  • Check your passport’s issue and expiry dates and allow plenty of time to apply for a new passport if required 
  • Each family member will need a valid EHIC card or apply for a new GHIC before travel
  • You will a photo driving licence and insurance Green Card to drive your vehicle in the EU 
  • Check your mobile phone provider’s roaming charges for France 
  • When you cross the French border be sure to carry your return tickets and proof of accommodation 
  • From the end of 2022, families will need to apply for a digital ETIAS pass to enter the EU  

Will I need a new passport? 

Before Brexit, you could travel to EU countries on your passport right up to the point it expired. Now you need at least 6 months left on your UK passport and it needs to be less than 10 years old, or you may not be able to travel. Allow plenty of time to apply for your new dark blue passport  (which will replace the burgundy coloured EU document).  

Will our EHIC cards still be valid?   

The good news is that your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is still valid in the EU until it expires.  

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives holders access to state-provided emergency healthcare for free or reduced cost in the EU and Switzerland. Though not a substitute for travel insurance, the EHIC can help reduce your out of pocket medical expenses in the event that someone falls ill or has an accident while on holiday. 

You’ll be able to replace your EHIC with a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) up to 6 months before it expires. 

Applying for a GHIC is free of charge on the NHS website. Beware of unofficial websites, they may charge you a fee to apply. https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/ 

What about mobile roaming? 

Guaranteed free roaming in the EU ended on 1 January 2021 and so you may now be charged more for using your mobile device in France if your operator has reintroduced roaming charges.  The UK and EU have agreed to cooperate on “fair and transparent” rates for mobile roaming including a £45-a-month cap on using mobile data abroad. 

Will we need a visa for our family adventure to France in 2022?  

Under the current rules, UK passport holders can enter France and the EU Schengen Zone, without needing a visa and visitors can spend up to 90 days in the Schengen zone during any 180-day period.   

What about trips to France in 2023?  

New rules come into effect at the end of 2022 which means that UK passport holders will need to apply online for an ETIAS to enter France and other countries in the EU Schengen Zone. ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System and is designed to keep track of visitors from the UK who do not need a visa to enter the EU.   

The ETIAS will be valid for 3 years and will cost €7 per adult. Under 18’s will also need an ETIAS to travel in the EU but will not be charged a fee for the permit. 

Should we expect any changes at the French border?  

Yes. Firstly, you may have to queue in separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. Also, when you arrive in France, be prepared to show your return ticket and proof of accommodation for your stay. You may also be asked to show that you have enough money for your stay.  

Can I take food into the EU after Brexit? 

You are not allowed to bring any dairy or meat products into the EU from the UK and so don’t be tempted to pack chocolate, biscuits, Bovril or any other products that contain prohibited ingredients. The only exception is powdered infant milk and special foods required for medical reasons. Read more on the EU website. 

Will we be able to drive to our family adventure in France? 

Yes. The good news is that your UK photocard driving licence will continue to be valid in the EU. If you only have a paper licence, you will need to buy an International Driving Permit from the Post Office to drive in some European countries.   

If you are taking your own car, you will also need your log book (V5C) and insurance documents. 

Do we need a Green Card to drive in Europe?  

If you are taking your own vehicle abroad, you will need to ask your insurer for a Green Card. You should print it out ready to show it if asked by the police or other authorities. Allow plenty of time (at least a month) for your Green Card to be issued. Your insurance company may charge an admin fee for this.  

The Association of British Insurers states that all UK motor insurance policies will provide the legal minimum third party cover required to drive in the EU. Check with your insurance company whether they provide any cover in addition to this, such as accidental damage.  

Can we still use our GB car sticker to drive abroad? 

If you intend to drive your British vehicle in the EU you will now need to clearly display a “UK” sticker on the rear of your car. This replaces the GB sticker that was previously needed when driving abroad. If you still have a GB sticker it should be removed or covered.  

Is my UK pet passport still valid in the EU?  

Your pet passport will no longer be valid to travel to the EU. Instead, you will need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) issued by a vet. The AHC must be obtained no more than 10 days before travel and is valid for four months. AHCs are valid for a single trip into, and around, the EU and re-entry to Great Britain. Your pet will also need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. 

What about COVID-19 travel restrictions for family holidays to France? 

These requirements relate to holidays to France following Brexit. For the latest COVID-19 travel advice, please visit our France travel guide.

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