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Does Brexit mean I need a visa to go to see live motorsport?

The UK left the European Union in 2020 and travel rules changed on 1 January 2021. But what does Brexit mean for British racing fans heading to events across Europe? Motorsport Tickets gives the lowdown on what to be aware of and what you need to consider


Good news is that Brexit hasn’t made it much harder for British fans wishing to attend races in the EU, but there are a few things you should be aware of before you start spending money on those front-row seats overlooking Eau Rouge at Spa.

This article is brought to you in partnership with Motorsport Tickets

Travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 crisis are the biggest barrier at present. It’s an evolving picture, with each local government working associated requirements and restrictions slightly different, but across Europe there is an eagerness to get fans back to racing. The Monaco Grand Prix (in May), a landmark in the Formula 1 season, is back for 2021 and open for business. To keep customers safe, social distancing is a mainstay for all grandstands, and things like pit walks removed. Spain (May) and France (June) have similar policies in place, and fan favourites Austria (July), Hungary (August) and Belgium (August) remain hugely popular. Italy is expected to go on sale imminently.

It’s a similar story in MotoGP, while the iconic the Le Mans 24 Hours has decided to delay the race, driven by a desire to maximise the audience that can attend from across Europe. For customers still unsure, Motorsport TicketsCovid Secure Protection is also there to give 100% piece of mind. Allowing fans to commit to the race of your choice, knowing you can get 100% of their money back in the event a race is subsequently delayed, run behind closed doors or cancelled.

Covid aside, if lockdown has made you keener than ever to watch F1, MotoGP, Le Mans or any other series in the flesh, here’s what you need to know now that the UK is no longer a member of the EU.

Travelling to EU countries from the UK

In 2021, British travellers can visit EU countries for up to 90 days over a 180-day period without a visa or additional paperwork, which means a long weekend to attend a grand prix outside the UK is no problem. Anything longer than 90 days in that timeframe would then require a visa, whether it be for work, study or business.

From 2022 however, British travellers to the EU will need to fill in a visa-waiver form, similar to the ESTA needed to visit the USA. Called ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System), the waiver will cost €7 and be valid for three years. The 90-in-180-day rules will still apply.

Motorsport Tickets

Motorsport Tickets

Will I need to renew my passport?

You won’t need to renew your passport to visit EU countries. As long as your current passport has at least six months left to run on the date of travel and is less than 10 years old, you will be fine.

When going through passport control - whether that be in an airport or ferry terminal - you won’t be allowed to use the EU fast-track lane any more. When entering the EU, you should be prepared to show that you have a return ticket and that you have enough money to pay for your stay until then.

Travel Insurance & European Health Insurance Cards

All European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) issued before 2020 will still be valid until their date of expiry, covering you for illness and accidents.

If your EHIC has expired, you can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Applying for this is free and entitles you to treatment at the same cost offered to residents of whichever country you are visiting. But bear in mind that healthcare is not free everywhere, and you won’t be able to claim back anything you spend on treatment. Find more information here.

The UK government advises that British travellers should take out travel insurance before going abroad, especially those who have pre-existing health conditions.

Motorsport Tickets

Motorsport Tickets

Driving in the EU

As long as you take a valid UK driving licence with you, you’ll be allowed to drive in EU countries. If you're driving a car with British plates, you should take your log book (VC5) and insurance documents, and obtain a green card from your insurance provider to prove that you are covered. It’s a good idea to apply for the latter of these at least six weeks before you travel.

A British car will also need to display a GB sticker.

Most drivers won’t need to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the EU, unless your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. You’ll need an IDP if you only have a paper driving licence (those issued before 1 April 1999, when photocards were introduced).

An IDP can be obtained from certain branches of the Post Office. It costs £5.50, and you’ll need to provide a passport photo and a valid UK licence. If your licence is paper only, you’ll need your actual passport too.

COVID-19 travel restrictions

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made international travel less predictable over the last 12 months, and a return to normal is not yet fully clear.

Currently UK residents have been instructed to stay at home and travelling abroad for a holiday is banned. The current earliest date for people to travel abroad is the 17 May. Good if you’re keen on getting to Monaco, with the government’s plans to phase out lockdown restrictions completely by 21 June.

The same is true of EU countries, where the situation continues to evolve rapidly and where the travel rules differ from nation to nation. Easing across Europe is dependent on ongoing process of vaccine rollout and hospital rates.

Anyone booking tickets and accommodation needs to be prepared that races (or their ability to host fans) may be postponed, run behind closed doors or cancelled with little warning, plus you may also need to factor in a period of self-isolation when travelling abroad and when returning to the UK.

Rules on mask wearing differ from nation to nation. In France masks are currently compulsory in all indoor spaces, as well as in the street in hundreds of towns and cities. Not wearing one could lead to a fine, and the use of homemade masks has also been discouraged. In the Netherlands - where masks are also compulsory in public indoor spaces. In Belgium masks are mandatory anywhere that social distancing of 1.5 metres can’t be guaranteed. Motorsport Ticket Covid Promise, part of its wider Covid Secure Booking, also delivers to their inbox, all local race guidance before they travel.

Given the variation in rules across Europe, it’s recommended that you double check the exact regulations for every country you intend to visit before you travel.

Motorsport Tickets

Motorsport Tickets

Are race tickets refundable?

Automatically, tickets purchased direct from the circuits are not refundable.

Motorsport Tickets unique Covid Secure booking policy gives 100% peace of mind* even if events are cancelled because of COVID-19. Giving fans the opportunity to defer any affect race purchase to another event, to 2022 or a complete refund.

To find out more about your preferred race, click the links below.

*Excludes France F1 Grand Prix 2021.

F1 races in Europe in 2021

18 April - Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy (Not expected to be ticketed)
2 May- Portuguese Grand Prix, Portimao (Tickets coming soon)
9 May - Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona (Tickets on sale now)
23 May - Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo (Tickets on sale now)
27 June - French Grand Prix, Circuit Paul Ricard (Tickets on sale now)
4 July - Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull Ring (Tickets on sale now)
18 July - British Grand Prix, Silverstone (Tickets on sale now)
1 August - Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring (Tickets on sale now)
29 August - Belgian Grand Prix, Spa (Tickets on sale now)
5 September - Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort (All-inclusive packages on sale now)
12 September - Italian Grand Prix, Monza (Tickets expected imminently)

MotoGP races in Europe in 2021

18 April - Portugal GP, Portimao (Not expected to be ticketed)
2 May - Spanish GP, Jerez (Tickets expected imminently)
16 May - French GP, Le Mans (Tickets on sale now)
30 May - Italian GP, Mugello (Tickets expected imminently)
6 June - Catalan GP, Barcelona (Tickets on sale now)
20 June - German GP, Sachsenring (Tickets on sale now)
27 June - Dutch GP, Assen (Tickets expected imminently)
11 July - Finnish GP, KymiRing (Tickets TBC)
15 August - Austrian GP, Red Bull Ring (Tickets on sale now)
29 August - British GP, Silverstone (Tickets on sale now)
12 September - Aragon GP, MotorLand Aragon (Tickets expected imminently)
19 September - San Marino GP, Misano (Tickets expected imminently)
14 November - Valencia GP, Circuit Ricardo Tormo (Tickets expected imminently)

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