Holidays: FCDO issue update for France, Italy, Greece, Portugal and more ahead of Brexit

Boris Johnson signs Brexit trade deal with EU

Holidays may be all about having fun but it’s important to make sure you’re protected if anything goes wrong. For many years Britons have been able to enjoy the use of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the EU.

However, with the UK leaving the EU once and for all on January 1, what does this mean for holidaymakers?

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has this week issued a mass update to a number of destinations.

Among these were popular holiday spots France, Italy, Greece and Portugal.

The FCDO explained in its latest travel advice that the EHIC will still be accepted in these countries after Friday.

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If you already have an EHIC, it remains valid in the EU until it expires.

However, if you apply for a card now, you’ll get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of an EHIC which will entitle you to the same benefits.

Other countries where the EHIC will continue to be accepted past January 1 include Belgium, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Latvia.

Travellers should be aware that from January 1, GHICs and most UK EHICs will not cover you in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

Travel insurance should also always be purchased when you book your holiday, no matter where in the world you are travelling to.

“[EHIC] will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts or being flown back to the UK,” explained the NHS.

Holidays to the EU will still involve some differences comes 2021.

“At border control, you may need to show a return or onward ticket and show you have enough money for your stay,” said the government.

Britons will also need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing.

British jet-setters may need to renew their passport earlier than before.

On the day you travel your passport will need to have at least six months left of validity.

It will also need to less than 10 months old.

Therefore, it’s key to look at your passport’s date when booking a holiday and make sure the above will stand for your travel dates.

For now, holidaymakers can continue as before and there will be no fees to travel to Europe.

However, there are plans to introduce a visa waiver, similar to that of the US ESTA and Canadian eTA, called ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) for Britons in late 2022.

From this time, visitors from countries with visa-free agreements with the EU (including the UK) will not be able to enter the Schengen Area with only their passports.

UK citizens travelling to Europe will be required to apply online with a valid passport and an email address before leaving Britain.

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