Brexit explained: Will I need a visa to travel to Europe after Brexit?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has been given Royal Assent, clearing another hurdle as the UK prepares to exit the EU next week. Now, many are wondering what Brexit will mean for travel to and from the continent as the major transition begins to take place.

Will you need a visa to travel to Europe after Brexit?

Most important to remember for 2020 is that, once the UK leaves the EU on January 31, it triggers a transition period of 11 months.

During the transition period, which is due to run from February 1, 2020, to January 1, 2021, the UK will remain effectively a member of the EU, but without representatives in its institutions.

That means all travel arrangements will stay exactly the same for 2020 when it comes to the EU.


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What about after the transition period?

From the beginning of 2021, things could change, and a lot of it depends on the finer details of the deal negotiated in the coming 11 months.

The Government has said there are no current plans to require visas for short-term travel between the UK and the rest of Europe.

Current plans are expected to allow UK citizens to visit EU counties for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

If you need to stay longer, you may need a visa or permit.

You should check each country’s travel advice page for information on how to get the required access.

After Brexit, you may also need to:

  • Show a return or onward ticket
  • Show you have enough money for your stay
  • Use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing

The exception will be Ireland – travel to and from Ireland will not change after Brexit, you will still be able to visit and work in Ireland as before.

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Will your passport be valid after the transition period?

According to the House of Commons Library: “Whether or not British passport holders would be subject to third country national rules, or other rules, after the transition period, would depend on agreements on the future relationship.”

If the UK ends up leaving the EU without a deal after the transition period, rules for passports could change and you may need to take action.

In the event of a no deal exit, your passport will need to have at least six months left before it expires, and be less than 10 years old (even if it has six months or more left).

To double-check, you can use THIS tool to check whether your passport is valid for the country you’re visiting.

Will your new passport be blue?

According to, a new blue passport design will be phased in from early 2020 over several months, and by mid-2020, all new British passports will be blue.

If you renew your passport during this initial period, you may be issued with either a blue or a burgundy British passport, and you won’t be able to state a preference for either colour.

All styles of passport will be equally valid for travel.

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