How Will Brexit Affect Train Travel in 2021?

The transition period is officially over, and with the UK and EU having struck a deal, there will be some changes to the way we travel between the two, especially when it comes to train travel. Unlike planes, trains wind their way throughout multiple countries, and it’s possible to travel from London to mainland Europe by train alone (Eurostar). Here’s how the new Brexit deal will affect train travel in Europe.

Will I need a visa to travel through and to Europe?

The question of visas was a hotly debated topic in the press and public, but the good news is that, in the short of it, you won’t need a visa to travel to Europe. This means British travellers are able to board the Eurostar and breeze through to Paris or Amsterdam, and then connect in these cities to other European destinations hassle free. Passengers can also get flights into Europe to their train’s embarkation station.

brexit train travel, paris
Brexit train travel: Passengers will still be able to trave to the EU visa free

However, those planning a long interrailing adventure or railway odyssey of over 90 days will need to get a visa. Different visa rules apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyrpus and Romania, so make sure to double check.

Can I still use my mobile phone as normal?

Since 2017, Brits have been blessed with the perk of being able to use their mobile phone, as normal and with no extra charges, anywhere in the EU (and the same for EU citizens visiting the UK). However, this may change in years to come, as the UK’s trade deal does not rule out additional costs for UK customers using their phones in the EU. That being said, most of the UK’s biggest operators like Vodafone, O2 and EE have revealed they have no plans to reintroduce roaming charges, so no need to fret for now.

brexit train travel
Your Ehic card will not be valid in Switzerland (home of the Glacier Express)

Will my Ehic card still work?

Travel insurance with decent medical cover is a no brainer, but many travellers still rely on the Ehic (European health insurance) card. Your Ehic card will remain valid in the EU until it expires (good news for those who’ve recently renewed), and there is work on a new replacement card. The new card will be called the global health insurance card (Ghic), which is expected to cover you for travel in EU countries, not including Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein. There are few details on the Ghic, but it is expected to offer cover only under existing reciprocal arrangements, mainly in the Commonwealth (so don’t expect free US healthcare).

Can I still use my driving license?

You may be thinking of driving to your train embarkation point, or renting a car at the airport, something you would have just done in the old EU days with your UK passport. Good news is that’s still the case, as your driving license will continue to be valid in the EU. Those wanting to take their own car on their European holiday will need to apply to your insurer to prove you have cover. Make sure to print it out and keep safe in the vehicle.

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