Passports: FCDO changes to passport validity & visa requirements for Europe holidays from | Travel News | Travel

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With Brexit set for completion on December 31, one of the biggest changes Britons will feel is the impact on travel to Europe. As the country prepares for its departure, with the transition period coming to a close on October 31, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has outlined some new changes travellers should be prepared for.

The Schengen Area is a group of countries within Europe which have abolished internal border controls.

Currently, the Schengen area consists of 26 European countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Both EU and non-EU citizens may freely travel within the Schengen area and are only checked on entry to the area and when crossing an external border.

The FCDO further clarifies: “If you’re travelling to Spain, previous visits to the Schengen area within the 180 days before your date of travel would count against the 90-day limit.

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“If you are travelling visa-free to Spain and to other countries in the Schengen area, make sure your whole visit is within the limit.”

Travellers who hope to stay for longer are required to consult each individual countries new requirements.

This could mean applying for a visa or work permit.

“The European Commission has not yet set out how the limit of 90 days in any 180-day period for visa-free travel will be implemented for those who are already travelling in the EU or Schengen Area on 31 December 2020,” adds the FCDO.

“Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip.

“You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.”

The Government is encouraging Britons to check their travel documents now to avoid disappointment at the end of the year.

Other changes to come include the end of European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) for UK citizens.

This means travellers should take out “appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover” for any European holidays after January 1.

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