Important Travel Rules in 2023

Can you believe we are entering another year? I can’t! But it seems 2023 is the year we will be fully saying goodbye to lockdowns, travel restrictions, isolation and PCR testing. There are some important changes coming into place in regards to travel rules in 2023 and some from 2022 you may missed!

Entry/Exit System (EES)

Set to come into effect in May 2023, the European Entry/Exit System (EES) will be an automated IT system for registering travellers from third-countries (yes Brits, that includes you now) when crossing an external EU border (eg. France-UK).

The EES will replace the current system of manual stamping of passports which will automatically detect anyone overstaying their visit (which was fairly easy to do in the EU if I am honest…).

You can find the EES here, it currently is not live so keep checking it before travel (if you don’t see it live, it means it is not yet in use).

£6 to enter the EU

In the UK we are so used to travelling freely around the EU without ever considering the need for a visa. Did you know since Brexit UK travellers must spend no more than 90 days in the EU in a 180 day period?

No, the EU aren’t just trying to annoy us (our own government did that), but brings us in line with other non-EU countries such as the US and Canada.

New in 2023 is the requirement of a European Travel Information and Authorisation System e-visa which will cost £6 and last up to 3 years.Under-18s and over-70s will be eligible for free passes.

Travellers are encouraged to apply 72 hours before travel incase of any delays. However, they are likely to be approved straight away.

Don’t panic just yet, the ETIAS is new and won’t be implemented until November 2023, you can apply for yours here when the system is live.

US Cuba ban

British travellers you may not think the US Cuba ban applies to you, but unfortunately it does. Any traveller with a Cuban stamp after 2011 in their passport are no longer eligible for an ESTA.

 Instead of paying £17 for an Esta, travellers must attend an interview and pay £129 for a visa. When you factor in the cost of travelling down to the US embassy for your interview, it might be cheaper to buy a new passport that won’t have the stamp in.

E-Visas for British travellers to enter India

During Covid, Indian e-visas were stopped, making it necessary to attend the Indian High Commission in London to approve their travel. I am happy to say the e-visas are back, making your approval much quicker and easier, you can apply for yours here.

UK passport validity to enter the EU

British travellers until 2022 were able to enter the EU passports issued over 10 years ago. Up until 2018, the UK government allowed for unspent time on passports to be added to the new passport when renewing, meaning some UK passports are valid for more than 10 years.

This wouldn’t have mattered while the UK was in the EU, but now that it’s classed as a third country, you will be denied entry if your passport issue date was more than 10 years ago.  This continues to catch travellers out, some who arrive at the airport and get turned away.

Your passport must be valid for at least three months on the date that you exit the EU but some Schengen Zone countries are asking for at least six months. Sometimes, it may simply come down to the discretion of the border guard. Despite the legal requirement being three months, UK travellers are strongly advised by the European Commission and the UK government to have no less than six months on the end of their passports.

You can search here to see individual rules for the country you are travelling to. If you’re travelling to Ireland, you can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.

Pet passports

The old school pet passports are no longer valid when travelling to the EU and it is advised you leave atleast one month in order to get the correct paperwork done for pet entry into the EU.

Owners need to get an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for their pet which can only be issued by a vet and remain valid for 4 months. In most cases, animals must also be microchipped and have a rabies injection but each European country is different in what they require so please check before departure.

If your pet needs a rabies vaccination, you must wait 21 days after the vaccination date before you get an animal health certificate.

Your pet will need a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

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