Since January 2021 when the Brexit transition period came to an end the European Union has classed the UK as a third country. This means that UK citizens no longer have the right to free movement in the EU.
The changes will mean additional checks at the borders of most European countries for British passport holders. So, if you’re heading to France this summer here’s what you need to prepare before entering the country.
What are the passport requirements for UK citizens entering France after Brexit?
Before travelling to France, be sure to check that your entire party has passports that meet the validity requirements. It’s no longer just as simple as having a valid passport.
UK citizens entering France must have a passport that is:
- Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country. Check the ‘date of issue’.
- Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave. Check the ‘expiry date’.
These are Schengen area passport requirements that are required for UK citizens visiting any EU country, except Ireland. This does not include Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City.
Do UK citizens need a visa to enter France after Brexit?
You do not need a visa, as long as you’re not planning to spend longer than 90 days in the Schengen area within a 180-day period. Don’t forget that visits to other countries in the Schengen area count towards your 90 days.
The Foreign Office’s travel advice states: “You can travel to countries in the Schengen area, which France is part of, for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.”
Do UK citizens need to get their passports stamped on entry to France?
Yes, following Brexit UK citizens must get their passport stamped on entering and leaving France. This is to ensure that they don’t overstay their 90-day visa-free limit.
The Foreign Office’s travel advice states that you can ask border guards to add your entry and exit dates into your passport by presenting acceptable evidence. This includes boarding passes and tickets.
The FCO warns: “If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.”
Do UK citizens need travel insurance to enter France?
Yes, there’s a chance UK citizens will be asked to produce proof of travel insurance for their trip at the border. They may also be asked to show proof of where they intend to stay, their return or onward ticket, and that they have enough money for their trip.
Following Brexit European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are still valid until they expire. If your EHIC has expired you will need to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replace the EHIC.
The GHIC entitles UK citizens to a basic level of emergency care – at a reduced cost or free of charge – whilst they’re making a short trip to European countries. However, it does not cover all mishaps or medical conditions and you may need to pay for treatment upfront.
The UK Government states: “EHIC and GHIC are not alternatives to travel insurance as they do not cover any private medical healthcare costs, repatriation or additional costs such as mountain rescue in ski resorts.”
The FCO advises taking out private travel insurance before travelling internationally. It gives the example that “if you fall in Spain and break your leg” it could cost around £15,000 for treatment and flights.