"Welcome to Brexit, sir." With four immortal words from a Dutch border officer, the previously hidden quirks of cross border traffic became a reality.
No you can’t take your ham and cheese sandwich to Europe and no you may not keep the bread.
With Brits already mourning the demise of the booze cruise – another victim of the new deal – people may well have missed some of the more obscure new rules about entering the EU.
So here are a few things you can’t do or need to watch out for:
Vegans largely unaffected
You cannot bring POAO (fabulously, this means products of an animal origin) such as those containing meat or dairy (that pesky ham and cheese sandwich, for example) into the EU.
According to the Government guidance "there are exceptions to this rule for certain quantities of powdered infant milk, infant food, special foods, or special processed pet feed".
There’s a full list of the rules and exemptions in the European Commission guidance on personal imports.
The reasoning behind this is there are potentially animal diseases like foot and mouth or swine fever that the EU wants to keep out.
And don’t even think about posting some Wensleydale to your Auntie in Mallorca either. The rules include the post.
Some plants mean problems too
Don’t gloat quite yet veggies - you cannot bring certain plants, seeds or plant products into the EU either.
It’s complicated, but if it grows and things can live on it, then it’s out. If it’s super processed you might be alright.
Find out more in the European Commission guidance on plant health biosecurity.
Fabulously, you can take bananas, coconuts, dates, pineapple and legendarily stinky fruit, durians. These items do not pose a risk apparently – though outside of exotic hothouses, you’re unlikely to have grown your own.
You can take any plant you like, as long as there's an official certificate with it from the plant health authority, though. Here’s a video explaining the rules from the EU.
But it’s not that simple…
Not all plant derived goods are banned.
Some innocent looking desserts might be on the naughty list too if they contain Gelatin and in theory, collagen is out too – both can be animal derived.
My favourite exceptions are the following, which you can have as long as you’re not eating them:
Make sure you check your Giant African Land Snail pet isn’t an invasive species! It’s all here.
What about pets?
When you finally get on a plane, train or boat for a trip to the EU, your pet passport is no longer valid.
You can still take your dog, cat, ferret or other animal (within reason) abroad, but the rules now depend on the requirements of individual countries.
Regardless, you’ll need to have the pet microchipped. It’ll also need a valid rabies vaccination, an animal health certificate and tapeworm treatment for some countries.
You’ll need to contact your vet at least one month before travel.
If you have an EU or Northern Ireland issued pet passport then this may not apply but check before travel. More information here.
Fun fun fun on the autobahn
Your car will be allowed into the EU – but with new restrictions.
You’ll need a green card from your insurer which proves you have the minimum cover to travel.
You should allow two months the rules say six weeks but let’s not chance it) at least to get this.
You may be able to print the card, but I wouldn’t, if you’re crossing borders lots. Caravaners and towers of other things, you’ll need extra cards for them too.
You’ll also need a GB sticker and some countries also require paper licences and possibly and international driving permit.
In an unexpected twist, because certain cross boarder agreements haven’t been worked out yet, it’s possible that speeding fines might be dodged for the time being.
We Brits rack up a lot of fines abroad and the charges can be huge. But don’t get too complacent.
If you get pulled over abroad you can get on the spot fines or even your vehicle impounded. Play it safe.
I can’t smuggle you, your tuna toasties or your ferret Bob in to the EU. But I can help you with complaints about all goods and services in the UK. www.resolver.co.uk