Can I Take My Motorhome To Europe
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New motorhome owners often ask: can I take my motorhome to Europe? We look at the laws and regulations regarding travel with a motorhome throughout Europe.
Touring Europe in a motorhome, roaming across different regions, meeting new people and experiencing beautiful locations - nothing sounds more idyllic to most people. While you may have packed the travel essentials, there are some motorhome-related facts you should know before you leave.
DRIVING YOUR MOTORHOME in EUROPE
Every year, countless UK citizens choose to visit EU countries by motorised vehicle. However, in Europe after Brexit, many things have changed for those interested in travelling. The UK Government have aimed to keep a trade deal with the European Union since 2020, meaning you can visit Europe with some ease and relax on your favourite beaches once again.
However, before you jump ahead and start your motorhome trip to mainland Europe, you should read this article to ensure you remain valid during your visit. Whether you have travelled abroad since 2020 or not, you should double-check you have the information and equipment required. Travelling to Europe now takes more information than you realise.
Check Passport Validity
British citizens travelling in their motorhome or campervan must check their passport validity and expiry date, ensuring they hold the correct paperwork. Even if you believe you hold a valid passport, you may have to renew your passport earlier if you plan to visit Iceland, Switzerland, Norway or Liechtenstein.
When you arrive in your given EU country, you should have at least six months left on your passport, and it should be less than ten years old. The only exception to this is when travelling to Ireland, as you can use your current passport to hop across the border into Northern Ireland and then commute into the south.
Of course, UK passport holders must also ensure their passport photo resembles them and is as updated as possible. When your passport must be renewed, always leave enough time before your travel as it can take up to three weeks for your passport to arrive either online or via post.
Will I need a visa?
Thankfully, most EU countries do not require you to hold a visa if you are taking a motorhome holiday. You are covered for a 90-day period in any given 180 days, which is plenty of time for most travellers. Motorhome owners can extend their travels by visiting other countries like Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Cyprus.
These countries do not count visits to other EU countries as part of the 90-day total. Different rules apply when you enter a new country, so you should always have the correct documents as a paper version along with digital. Different countries will require distinct checks on your non-EU vehicle, so always plan ahead and familiarise yourself with European travel information.
Travelling in Europe has different laws across different countries and states, so you can never be too sure. To take a long trip for more than 90 days, you will have to apply for a visa. If you plan to work or study during this time, a separate visa will be required, typically with suitable preparation and planning made ahead of time. It is vitally important you have all permits on your person before reaching different regions, as you may need a visa where you thought you didn't.
Travelling around Europe is fun when done correctly, as long as you are aware of the 180 day period you have been away in. Moving forward, you may require an ETIAS visa waiver, which is being introduced by the European Travel Information and Authorisation System. This will improve security among travellers in the EU, all completed via an online form.
This visa waiver covers all movement between countries in the Schengen area - making transportation between border checklists more straightforward. Once you have crossed the external Schengen border, you may be able to move around without further documentation through the borderless travel zones.
Will my driving licence still be valid?
Since leaving the European Union, British citizens have become worried their UK driving licence will not cover their motorhome or campervan travels abroad.
Thankfully, many drivers can use their current driving licence while on motorhome holidays, but some may require an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Regardless of what you use, always carry a paper driving licence with you for checks. You never know when you may lose your documents.An International Driving Permit covers a multi-language translation of your UK driving licence, brought from Post Offices prior to your travel.
You will require an IDP regardless of any licence issued from Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar or the Isle of Man. If you plan to drive across multiple countries during your trip, you may need numerous IDPs, so always check within the country's embassy you will be visiting.
European motorhome holidays do not go without their planning, as the UK registered vehicles will always require additional checks at borders.
Getting a GB sticker
Driving through most European countries in your motorhome or camper van requires a GB sticker on the back of the vehicle or trailer that is being towed. If the number plate on the vehicle already has a GB sticker, you do not need a separate Union Flag identifier.
When driving in Spain, Malta or Cyprus, you will always require a GB sticker. Vehicles with Euro symbols or a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales will need a separate GB sticker. Since 2021, a UK sticker will need to be displayed throughout many countries, not a GB one. Where number plates include a UK identifier, you may not require one - but always check with the country beforehand.
As you pass through any border, you should use separate lanes from other EEA, EU and Swiss citizens as you will require more checks and can cause traffic queues.
Health Insurance in Europe
Holders of a valid European health insurance card (EHIC) can travel until the expiration date. This does not extend to the following countries:
This is because they are not part of the EU. Carrying updated medical insurance will help you if you get into an accident or fall unwell while abroad.
Gradually, the EHIC will be replaced by the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), meaning you can receive state medical care throughout European countries and provide the same access as before.
Any travellers with pre-existing medical conditions should always obtain travel insurance and health insurance with health cover.
There are many medical reasons why you may require this insurance while travelling, and it can cover chronic or existing illnesses. Buying travel insurance can be a timely matter, so always do this well before your trip.
If you choose to travel with your pets to a European country, you cannot use your existing pet passport. Throughout the EU or Northern Ireland, you must acquire an animal health certificate (AHC).
This confirms a veterinarian has microchipped your pet and they have received their rabies vaccination.
Since leaving the EU, taking food and drinks across borders has been challenging. You can take powdered infant milk, pet food required for medical reasons and infant food.
Those looking to transport plans and plant products across borders should consult the European Commission. Pet owners must ensure they have the proper documentation; otherwise, your animals will not be allowed to pass border controls.
Vehicle Insurance in Europe
Ensuring you carry motorhome insurance is also a good practice to get into, along with breakdown cover. Motorhome wild camping throughout Europe can be challenging and scary without the proper insurance and paperwork.
Carrying a physical copy of a Green Card for your Europe motorhome is essential in protecting against theft and accidents.
Any country not part of the EU (Andorra, Iceland, Serbia, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein) requires a physical copy and not an electronic one.
UK residents may be required to show green cards when crossing a border during their motorhome travel. For towing vehicles, you will need a separate green card.
If you choose to store all the above documentation on your mobile phone, you will have to check with your network provider about roaming charges.
Mobile phones are a must-have for many people, holding our important information and an easy way to contact loved ones.
Surcharge-free roaming is no longer guaranteed throughout many EU countries, so enquire with your phone company as early as possible, so a hefty bill does not catch you out.
If you are driving a larger motorhome, you may have to display blind spot stickers on your vehicle. This is especially true throughout France and Northern France; otherwise, you can face a fine at the end of the day.
Post-Brexit road trips are not impossible, even though there are new rules to follow. Free movement may not be as simple as before 2020. However, with the right cover and up-to-date information on your passport and travel documentation, you can still visit many European countries.
You need to carry more paperwork and display a UK sticker on your vehicle as a legal requirement, but this won't ruin your next trip abroad. Always do your research about your individual circumstances and travel routes, and you won't be caught out on your motorhome holiday.
Remember always to carry the following:
- Your Driving Licence (A paper licence too)
- Hire Certificate
- Vehicle Registration Documents
- Proof of sufficient funds (European Commission has more details about individuals countries)
- Proof of ownership of the vehicle
- Return or onward tickets
As a UK citizen, such documents are required at border control stations because you never know what you will be asked for.
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