Will I need a visa for France after Brexit deal?

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The UK left the EU in January 2020, and for the last year the post-Brexit transition period has meant many restrictions on travel have remained the same. However from January 1, 2021, the transition period will come to an end, meaning rules surrounding travel will officially change.

After a difficult year for the tourism sector, the news of a trade deal with the EU has come as welcome relief to many travel organisations.

The European Commission said the deal provides for “continued and sustainable air, road, rail and maritime connectivity.”

Passenger rights and transport safety are not undermined by the agreement.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) welcomed the news of the agreement “at the 11th hour”.

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Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO, said: “It is good news for a sector which has been crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic and which feared the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

“Thankfully this worrying outcome has been avoided and now the sector can look ahead to 2021 with more confidence.

“But British holidaymakers could face higher health costs and added red tape.

“The devil will be in the detail of the deal – and only time will tell what the true consequences are for travellers.”

What do you need to do before visiting France?

From January 1, 2021, the rules surrounding travel to the EU will change.

The Government guidance on travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein advises people may need to check their passports before travelling to France.

On the day of travel, passports need to have at least six months left to be eligible to visit an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

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Passports also need to be less than 10 years old, even if it has six months or more left on it.

A new passport costs £75.50 online, or £85 via paper form.

Before travelling people may also need to get travel insurance which covers healthcare, and check they have the right driving documents.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) previously covered state-provided healthcare in an EU country to UK citizens.

But from January 1, 2021, most UK residents cannot use an EHIC card.

The Government guidance states: “Get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad.

“Make sure it covers any pre-existing conditions that were previously covered by your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).”

If someone wants to take their pet abroad, they will need to organise pet travel, and they are advised to contact their vet at least one month before they go.

There is further guidance on the Government website on what to do before travelling for a business purpose.

Will I need a visa for France after the Brexit deal?

For short stays in France, you do not need a visa if you are a tourist.

The Government guidance states: “If you’re a tourist, you will not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

“You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

“Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.

“If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total.

“You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel.”

Travel to Ireland will not change, and people can still work in Ireland in the same way as before.

At border control, the French authorities may request to see a return or onward ticket.

Travellers may also need to show they have enough money, and use separate lanes from the EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queuing at airport or train terminals.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) offers travel advice pages for each country, which explain how to obtain a visa for travel.

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