We are here – over four and a half years after Britain voted to leave the EU, the country is finally, officially, no-going-back-now, doing it. (Well, it actually officially left in January 2020 but what with the transition period to the end of the year, there wasn’t much of a difference.) But what does Britain leaving the EU mean for Brits travelling to Croatia in 2021? Here we’ll a look at the changes to visiting Croatia post Brexit.
Entering Croatia Post Brexit
Updated Due to covid restrictions, as of 13th January 2021, anyone travelling from the UK to Croatia must present proof of a negative covid test at the border AND self-isolate for 14 days.
The most significant change – albeit a temporary one – is that British travellers may actually be banned from entering the EU after 1st January 2021. This is of course due to coronavirus restrictions in place preventing travellers from outside the bloc travelling to it, apart from a few countries with low coronavirus rates. However, a last-minute exemption for Brits may be decided by the powers that be – keep an eye out for news of this. Croatia, at present, has slightly different covid-related border regulations. The country has allowed non-EU travellers into the country for the whole of 2020. (Obviously, normal visa regulations do apply.)
As of 30th November 2020, it requires all travellers entering the country (even Croatian citizens) to show proof of a negative PCR covid test that is not older than 48 hours. The exception to this is anyone travelling from a green region or country (as denoted by the ECDC map) within the EU. (At present, there are no green regions!)
So this appears to mean that UK visitors will still be able to travel to Croatia post Brexit after 1st January 2021 but British travellers will definitely need to show proof of a negative PCR covid test at the border when entering. And this is likely to be the case for some time.
If you are not able to show proof of a negative covid PCR test when entering Croatia, you will be allowed to enter but would then need to have yourself tested in Croatia (at your own expense) and self-isolate until you can show proof of a negative test result.
Don’t forget that when you’re entering Croatia or any other EU country, British travellers can no longer use the EU/EEA queue at passport control. 🙁
EU Visa Waiver
The EU will be introducing its own visa waiver programme (much the same as the one for visiting the U.S.) in 2022. Named ETIAS – European Travel Information and Authorisation System – British travellers will need to apply for this visa waiver before visiting Croatia and the EU once the system is up and running.
From 1st January 2021, British travellers will need to have six months left on their passports when travelling to the EU, Croatia included. Do make sure that your passport is not due to expire in the next six months if you’re travelling to Croatia/the EU.
You passport does also need to have been issued within the last ten years.
Length of stay in Croatia
When visiting the EU post Brexit, British travellers will only be able to stay for 90 days in any 180 day period in the Schengen Zone.
This is very relevant in the case of Croatia as – although, of course, the country is part of the EU – it is not yet part of the Schengen Zone. (Although is inching ever closer to joining!) But just like for the Schengen Zone, British travellers will be permitted to spend 90 days in any 180 day period in Croatia.
That means, as it stands, British travellers could spend 90 days in Croatia and then still spend another 90 days in the Schengen Zone. And, technically, you could then return to Croatia for another 90 days, and then back to the Schengen Zone for another 90 days…
Driving in Croatia Post Brexit
Updated You now do not need to hold an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Croatia or the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Lichtenstein. You can confirm this on the GOV.UK website.
British travellers will be required to obtain an International Driving Permit in order to hire a car in the EU, including in Croatia. These can be easily obtained from your local Post Office and cost £5.50.
You will need to obtain a ‘green card’ from your motor insurer if you are intending to visit Croatia with your own vehicle. This green card shows that you have the minimum level of motor insurance for your vehicle.
EHICs and Travel Insurance
Updated EHICs remain valid until their expiry date. So if yours is still valid, you can still ‘use’ it when visiting the EU.
Updated Global Health Insurance Cards (GHICs) will replace EHICs for UK citizens. If you EHIC has already expired (or you don’t have one), you can apply for a GHIC on the NHS website.
From 1st January 2021, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid for British travellers to Croatia and the rest of the EU.
Please make sure you obtain appropriate travel insurance (which you should really have been doing anyway) before travelling to Croatia.
British travellers may no longer enjoy free data roaming in the EU from 1st January 2021. *sound of thousands of Instagrammers crying*
However, you should really contact your mobile phone provider to find out what charges (if any) are applicable for phone and data use for you in the EU from 1st January 2021.
When returning from Croatia, an EU country, to the UK you are now limited as to the amount of goods you can bring back. There is a limit on personal goods worth £390, as well as additional limits on alcohol and tobacco. You can see these limits on the GOV.UK website. Any amount above these allowances must be declared.
Travelling with Pets
Those traveling with pets to Croatia or the EU need to obtain an animal health certificate (instead of a pet passport) before heading off. You can find out more information on this on the GOV.UK website.
More Information on Visiting the EU and Croatia Post Brexit
The British government has its own guide to Visiting Europe from 1 January 2021. Take a look there to find out more information on travelling to the EU, or if you’re a British national living in the EU.