Brexit and your holiday to France

From the 1st of January 2021 the United Kingdom has officially left the European Union. Although there are no huge stanges when planning your holiday to France, it is worth keeping the below things in mind. 


Health insurance

From EHIC to GHIC - the Global Health Insurance Card

If you require medically necessary health care during a stay in an EU country from 1 January 2021, you will be covered by the GHIC card which now replaces the EHIC card.

People living in the UK will be able to use their existing EHICs until they expire, at which point they will apply for the new GHIC.

For UK nationals living in Europe, the EU-issued EHIC will continue to be valid if you travel to the UK, as well as in other EU states, as it is now. Nothing will change for you and you do not need to take any specific action.

The EHIC only covers the cost of treatment which becomes medically necessary during your stay outside your host country. This includes:

  • emergency treatment and visits to A&E
  • treatment for a long-term or pre-existing medical condition
  • routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need monitoring
  • oxygen and kidney dialysis

You will be reimbursed on the same basis as a national of the country you’re visiting. This means that in some countries you may need to pay a proportion of the cost of the health care you receive.

For more information:


Travel insurance

It is essential for you to have travel insurance which covers you as best as possible.  There are now a few companies who provide some Covid 10 cover for a reasonable cost.


Driving in France

International Driving Licence

Your driving licence will still be valid from 1 January 2021 to drive in EU countries.

There are some exceptions and what is called an International Driving Permit (IDP) may be needed. An IDP can be bought at Post Offices for £5.50.

The exceptions are people who only have a paper licence, not a photocard one, as well as those with licences issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. The government's advice if you are in one of these groups is to check with the embassy of the country you are planning to drive in to see if you will need an IDP.

There are two different types of IDP you might need in Europe. For France and Germany, for example, some of those people will need a 1968 IDP.

You can find the full list of which IDPs you need worldwide on this page.

Even if your UK photocard driving licence has an EU flag on it, it will still be valid in the UK until the expiry date printed on it.


Car insurance

You will need a green card, which is a document you get from your insurer to prove your car is covered if you are driving in Europe.

Motorists should contact their insurers six weeks before travelling, to ask for a green card. Separate green cards are needed for trailers and caravans.

The green card is only proof of a minimum level of third-party cover - it will not necessarily match the level of cover that you pay for in the UK. You would have to check with your insurer to find out what level of cover you would receive.

The rules for GB stickers are that you need one unless your number plate has GB on it, either alone or alongside a union flag. If the GB is alongside an EU flag or the flag of England, Scotland or Wales then you still need a GB sticker.

You'll need to carry your V5C logbook with you if you own the car. If it is a car you have hired or leased, then you will need to get a VE103 form to show you have permission to take it out of the UK.

If you are involved in a road traffic accident in an EEA country (that means EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) then you may need to make a claim against the driver or their insurer in the country where the accident happened. That could involve bringing the claim in the local language.

Read our other articles about travelling options to France and driving in France.

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Taking pets to France

When the UK was part of the EU, you were able to take your dog or cat from the UK to the EU and back again without them having to go into quarantine, provided that certain conditions - such as having a pet passport and getting them microchipped - were met.

You will still be able to travel with your pet from England, Scotland and Wales to the EU, but you will need to follow a different procedure.

The EU has agreed that Great Britain should be given "part two listed" status, allowing pets to travel within its borders if the owners obtain an animal health certificate (AHC) first. The AHC confirms that your pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

You will need to get a new certificate each time you travel with your pet and you must obtain it within 10 days of the date you travel. The document is valid for four months, for a single trip into the EU, onward travel within the EU and for re-entry to Great Britain.

The certificate will be issued by your vet.

On arrival in the EU, you will need to enter through a designated travellers' point of entry, listed on the EU website here.

The rules apply to guide dogs as well.

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