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  • Brexit FAQs

    How Brexit will affect the airport and travel.

    On 1 January 2021, the UK left the European Union. Passengers continue to be able to use Heathrow to travel from the UK to the EU, but there may be some extra steps you will need to take prior to travel.

    All information provided on this page is subject to advice from the UK Government.  If you are unsure about any of the information below or require further guidance on travelling to Europe after 1st January then please see the UK Government website.


    Departing passengers

    You can check if your passport is valid for travel on the Government website.

    If your passport doesn’t meet the validity requirements, you will need to renew it prior to travel. These rules apply to both adult and child passports.

    To note, Burgundy passports, whether with ‘European Union’ on the cover or not, remain valid alongside the new blue passport.

    Please note, these rules do not apply if you are traveling to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.

    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.

    Check each country’s travel advice page for information on how to get a visa or permit.

    From 1 January 2021, UK citizens may be subject to additional checks upon entering EU countries. You may be asked to show a return or onward ticket or show you have enough money for the duration of your stay to the Border official. You may also have to use separate lanes at immigration from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. To stay updated for the latest UK Government advice, click here.

    The new rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey. The rules for passports from all other countries will remain the same. 

    You are advised to get travel insurance prior to travelling. The European Health Insurance Card will continue to be valid if you are travelling to an EU country up until the expiry date shown on your card. The UK Government will share more information on the cards long-term in due course. It is your responsibility to organise your own travel insurance before travel. Please ensure your chosen travel insurance covers any pre-existing health conditions you may have. Read more advice on buying the correct travel insurance here.

    From 1 January 2021, UK citizens travelling to the EU will be able to purchase duty-free on excise goods (alcohol and tobacco). Read more on import allowances for your destination here.

    From 1 January 2021, the UK Government is ending the VAT refund scheme for all visitors to the UK. EU and non-EU visitors will be able to purchase goods tax-free in store, if they arrange for all goods to be shipped to their overseas address. For more information, view UK Government advice.

    From 1 January 2021, the UK Government is ending tax-free sales in airports on non-excise goods (electronics, clothing, cosmetics etc). For more information, view UK Government advice. To understand how this change impacts retailers and shopping at Heathrow, visit the retailer in-store and visit Heathrow Boutique

    From 1 January 2021 if you are travelling to the EU with a UK passport for business, there may be extra actions you need to take. Depending on which country you are visiting, you may need to apply for additional documentation. Please check the UK Government advice for more information here.

    You will not be able to take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries from 1 January 2021. There are some exceptions, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. You’ll need a certificate to take certain plants and plant products into EU countries from 1 January 2021. Please see Government advice for more information. 

    Our flight timetable contains flights up to a year ahead, and shows information including day, time, terminal and aircraft type. 

    There will be no change to the standard process if your flight is delayed or cancelled. Please ensure you liaise with your airline should your flight be delayed or cancelled. For airline information, click here.

    You will still be able to travel with a pet from the UK to the EU, however from January 1 2021, the existing pet passport scheme is no longer valid. You will need to follow a different process to get an Animal Health Certificate (AHC).

    You will need to ensure your pet has the correct documentation and vaccinations. Contact your vet at least 1 month before you plan on travelling with your pet to the EU for the first time from January 1 2021. For more information on travelling with your pet, click here.

    Arriving passengers

    As per the latest UK Government advice, EU citizens will be able to enter and leave the UK using e-gates when travelling on a biometric passport.

    As per the latest UK Government advice, passengers will continue to travel through Heathrow Airport from January 1 2021 as they did previously.

    From 1 January 2021, the ‘blue channel’ (previously used for arrivals from EEA countries) will close. All passengers arriving from the EU will be required to make a customs declaration by selecting the green channel (nothing to declare) or the red channel (goods to declare) as rest of the world passengers do now.

    For more information on the customs changes, view Government advice.

    EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will still be able to travel to the UK for holidays or short trips without needing a visa. You will be able to enter the UK using a valid passport. Please note you will not be able to use your EEA or Swiss national ID card to enter the UK from 1 October 2021. Please see the Government advice for more information. 

    From 1 January 2021, there will be new inbound personal allowances on goods brought back to the UK from EU and non-EU countries. If you exceed limits on the goods you bring into the UK, you will be required to pay tax.  

    There are restrictions on the volume of alcohol, cigarettes and the value of other goods. Read more about the personal allowance here.

    From 1 January 2021, the rules on bringing food, animal and plant products into the UK from the EU will be changing. Please see Government advice for more information.

    There is will be no changes to the current pet travel requirements for entry to the UK from the EU from January 1 2021. The UK will continue to accept EU pet passports or the AHC.

    For more information on travelling with your pet, click here.

    For the latest information, please visit the UK Government website