Digital nomads: What’s allowed in Europe after 1 January 2021?

Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

If you’re already a digital nomad, or you’re thinking about relocating to Europe to ‘work from home’ elsewhere, things won’t be as straightforward as when the UK was part of the EU.

Here’s what you need to know before you book your tickets:

Check official advice before you travel

Take a look at the latest Government advice for the places you’re visiting:
Gov.uk | Foreign travel advice 

At each country page, you can sign up to get email alerts whenever official advice changes. This is particularly useful if you visit the same country regularly.

If you’ll be away on or after 1 January 2021

All the usual travel advice applies. (See above: Check official advice) 

If you’re going to be travelling in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, even if you usually travel to these places, there are some extra things you’ll need to do if you’ll be away on or after 1 January 2021:

  • check your passport
    You might need to renew it. On the day you travel, your passport must be less than 10 years old and have at least six months left. You can use the Government’s web checker to find out if you need to renew:
    Gov.uk | Check your passport
  • check your travel insurance covers your healthcare
    It’s sensible to buy appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you travel abroad. If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), it will be valid up to 31 December 2020. If you have any pre -existing medical conditions, make sure your policy covers this because many don’t.

If you’ll be driving or riding while you’re away:

  • check you have the correct documents
    You might need extra documents from 1 January 2021.
    In some countries, you might need an international driving permit (IDP).
    If you’re taking your own vehicle, you might also need a GB sticker and a ‘green card’ or valid proof of insurance. You might need to ask your insurance company for this.
    Gov.uk | Driving abroad

And if you’ll be travelling with your pet:

  • check what you need to organise for your pet
    The Government advises you to contact your vet at least four months before you travel and they’ll let you know what to do.
    Gov.uk | Pet travel to Europe

If you want to live in Europe

The rules for living and working in Europe are different for each country. The rules might change after 1 January 2021. Here’s what to check if you’re thinking about moving abroad:

  • residency
    Depending on how long you want to stay, you might need to apply for residency.  
  • healthcare
    The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) won’t be valid after 1 January 2021 so you’ll need to make sure you’re covered for healthcare. To gain a residency permit in some countries, you’ll need to prove you have sufficient medical insurance.
  • tax and social security
    If you’ll be working while you’re away, you might need to tell HMRC. Also check whether you’ll need to pay social security contributions in the country you plan to live in.
    Find out: Gov.uk | Working abroad
  • driving licence
    If you decide to make another country your home, you might need to exchange your UK driving licence for a licence issued by that country.
    Gov.uk | Driving abroad

There’s more information at the Gov.uk website:
Gov.uk | UK nationals living in the EU

Have your say

Are you already living and working in Europe? How will the new rules affect you? Or are you planning to work remotely in 2021? We’re keen to hear from you – get in touch with us on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter.

Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

Suzanne Worthington

Senior Writer

Tide Team

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