Reine Village in Lofoten Islands, Norway

Last updated 20 February 2020 | New page published

The EU and the UK will formally negotiate the future trading relationship from March 2020. How much this will impact travel is uncertain. The guidance below relates to what we know and understand as at 20 February 2020. Please keep checking this page throughout 2020 for updates.

Members with queries or seeking further information are welcome to call us or email

Visitors to/from EU and UK

Border process

For EU and non-EU nationals visiting Schengen, EU non-Schengen and UK


For visitors from EEA (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), Switzerland or the UK applicable from 1 January 2021  

  • EHIC may no longer be used by EEA/Swiss nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EEA/Switzerland unless reciprocal healthcare arrangements are agreed between the EU and the UK or a bilateral agreement between EEA member country or Switzerland and the UK 
  • Within the Common Travel Area, Irish and UK nationals will continue to be able to access healthcare in each other’s country. This also applies in the Crown Dependencies (GuernseyJersey, Isle of Man). Further information from UK Government here. 
  • Surcharge-free roaming will no longer be regulated and guaranteed. Therefore, charges could be re-introduced for EEA citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EEA by mobile communication providers for roaming services.  
  • Currently there is no indication mobile operators will re-introduce roaming charges for EEA customers travelling in the UK or UK customers travelling in the EEA but travellers are advised to check with mobile operator(s) to confirm. 
  • EU Portability Regulation will cease to apply to UK-EEA travel. This regulation governs the availability of online content services (e.g. videoon-demand streaming services) 
  • Online content service providers will not be required to provide content to a EEA customer visiting the UK or a UK customer visiting an EEA member country, but may wish to do so voluntarily. This will depend on the terms of the services and licences in place between service providers and right holders. Further information from UK Government here. 


  • Free movement within EU (excluding Ireland) will end after the transition period on 1 January 2021.  
  • The right to work will mainly depend on the national laws of each country and bilateral agreements, unless the UK has an agreement with the EU or the UK national is a family member of an EU national.  
  • There is no work visa that applies to the whole Schengen areaA work visa does not count towards the 90 day limit in a 180-day rolling period for non-EU visa waiver nationals visiting the Schengen area, as it is subject to different rules.  
  • The EU Directive on Seasonal Workers covers the conditions of entry and residence of seasonal workers from non-EU countries but each country still determines whether to grant entryCountry specific information in relation to seasonal workers can be found here  
  • If there is an agreement between the EU and the UK to allow temporary workers (e.g. posted or seasonal workers such as tour guides) without a work permit/visa being required, UK nationals may still be subject to the 90 day limit in a 180-day rolling period for non-EU visa waiver nationals. It is likely this would also include non-Schengen EU countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania) as the same rules are applied at their external borders. Time in a non-Schengen country does not count towards the 90 day limit in Schengen. 
  • Further information from European Commission: Non-EU nationals,  Work permits,  Schengen visa waiver FAQ 
  • Further information from UK Government: Providing services and travelling for business to EU/EEA and Switzerland from 1 January 2021 

Unless agreed otherwise, the principle of mutual recognition between EU member states and the UK of professionals seeking to provide services in either EU or UK on a temporary and occasional basis will end after the transition period. Such activity would then be subject to bilateral agreements between the UK and individual EU states since EU states, not the EU itself, have competence in professional regulation. The EU manages the framework that promotes mutual recognition and cross border services within the EU. 

  • The UK Government will introduce a new immigration system from 1 January 2021 which will apply to all non-UK nationals.  
  • Freedom of movement by EU nationals (except Irish) in the UK will end at this time.   
  • The right to work permanently and temporarily in the UK will be subject to the new immigration system, unless there is a bilateral agreement between the non-UK country and the UK such as on posted workers 
  • The UK Government has announced that its immigration system will be ‘points based’ and a mixture of criteria (skills, job offer and salary level) will be used to assess whether sufficient points have been obtained by a non-UK national for a Tier 2 (General) work visa. A legislative proposal is expected in March 2020. In the meantime, the UK Government has published some details on its immigration system here.    
  • Irish nationals will be exempt from any new immigration restrictions due to the Common Travel Area agreement between Ireland and the UK.  


  • For a stay lasting more than 90 days a residence permit or a long-stay visa from the national migration authorities of the host EU country will be required (excluding Ireland). For information on working please see section above.
  • UK nationals will continue not to be subject to immigration restrictions to live in Irelandin accordance with the Common Travel Area agreement between Ireland and the UK. 
  • Further information issued by the UK Government is available here and covers living in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
  • All EU nationals (excluding Irish) resident in the UK before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) are required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021. The scheme is free and only needs to be completed once.  
  • For EU nationals living in the UK for less than 5 years, pre-settled status will be granted; 5 years or more, settled status. Both offer broadly the same rights i.e. access to work and health but EU nationals with pre-settled status can only leave the UK for up to 2 years in a row without affecting their status (whereas for those with settled status the maximum is 5 years). Further information is available here 
  • EU nationals with status under the EU Settlement Scheme will not be subject to the new UK immigration system when implemented from 1 January 2021.
  • EU nationals with status under the EU Settlement Scheme will still be able to use a national identity card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025.


  • This remains subject to agreement but ‘basic connectivity’ of ‘point-to-point’ air services is expected to be allowed between the UK and EU.  
  • Whether UK-registered airlines will be allowed to operate intra-EU flights is subject to negotiation. 
  • Ferry services from Great Britain to Ireland and mainland Europe will continue to operate within the same regulatory framework as before, as international law governs these services.   
  • Cross border rail services in Ireland, and between England and mainland Europe are expected to continue to operate as usual. These services are subject to bilateral agreements.  


  • The UK will join the Interbus Agreement which will allow ‘closed door’ coach tours (occasional services) to continue to EU countries and Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine.  

Non-Interbus and non-EU countries  

  • The UK Government has advised that until an agreement is reached, UK coaches will not be able to run occasional services to non-EU countries that are not signatory to the Interbus Agreement; these include Norway and Switzerland. This is because there is no agreement that allows a non-EU registered coach to travel through the EU to a non-EU non-Interbus country.  
  • UK coaches can still drive through a country not in the Interbus Agreement, but that country cannot be the final destination.  
  • EUregistered coaches can still travel to Norway and Switzerland as their destination.  


  • The Interbus Agreement does not allow cabotage (pick up and set down of passengers outside the coach company’s home country). Whether this is allowed in future will depend on individual national governments. 
  • We understand that the UK intends to allow cabotage by EU operators on a ‘temporary basis’. An EU coach would be allowed to pick up and set down passengers on a tour within the UK during this period and must return to the EU within 3 months. 

Regular services  

  • Regular coach services e.g. scheduled inter-city services are expected to be permitted until their inclusion in the Interbus Agreement is ratified. 
  • Unless agreed otherwise, mutual recognition of driving licences by EU member states will no longer automatically apply to UK licence holders.  
  • UK licence holders may require an International Driving Permit (IDP) for a European country. If applicable, an IDP can be purchased from Post Offices 
  • EU licence holders will not require an IDP to drive in the UK.  
  • UK trailer may need to be registered before being towed in some European countries. Further information is available here  
  • A green card (proof of insurance) may be required for EU licence holders travelling to the UK and UK licence holders travelling to the EU. A green card can be obtained from insurance companies and one month’s notice is recommended to be given. If the vehicle is towing a trailer, an additional green card for the trailer may be required. 
  • UK vehicles may need to display a GB sticker on the rear of the vehicle when travelling in the EU (excluding Ireland), even if the registration plate has a GB identifier. 


  • Unless agreed otherwise, aEU laws no longer apply to the UK and the UK becomes a ‘third country’ to the EU, UK nationals will be entitled to a VAT refund on goods/services purchased within the EU.  
  • EU nationals will not be able to claim a VAT refund on goods/services purchased in the UK until legislation is passed by UK Parliament. 
  • UK version of TOMS is proposed by UK’s HM Revenue & Customs where UK businesses will only pay VAT on UK travel.  
  • UK businesses trading in EU countries will still be subject to VAT on EU travel and may need to register for VAT in each member stateThey would then have to reclaim input VAT, and remiVAT on the price paid by the consumer. European Commission guidance on VAT is available here. 
  • HM Revenue & Customs have yet to confirm if EU businesses trading in the UK will pay UK VAT. We understand this will not be the case but this may change depending on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.    

Members can receive initial advice on a complimentary basis by contacting Elman Wall Bennett (contact details provided in the member area hotline page) or please contact ETOA’s policy team for further information. 

  • Subject to negotiation between EU and the UKallowances and restrictions for goods brought into the EU from the UK and vice versa may be re-introduced and subject to customs checks and duty if over allowance. This is possible due to plans announced by UK Government on 10 February 2020 
  • Customs checks are mandatory at EU external borders and are the most likely cause of delay. Our current understanding is that any required customs checks and declarations for export between Northern and Republic of Ireland may take place at locations away from the border.  
  • Animal origin products such as ham and cheese could be prohibited in a traveller’s luggage. Exceptions would be provided for certain types such as infant food or for medical reasons. Further information from EU on travel between EU and the UK. 

Overall links to Guidance  

Travel during 2020

Transition period

Learn more

Disclaimer: While best efforts have been made to verify the accuracy of the information, the information displayed on this page should be used as guidance only.

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