On the 15th of January, 2022 – In the beginning of Covid 5th Wave
I have decided to share my experiences about driving from Hungary to the UK. Maybe this will be a good use for somebody, who is planning the same trip.
We planned our road trip for many hours; reading through Covid restrictions of every countries we planned traveling through. Our car had to be ready, our dog needed to have all documents and we had to comply with every rules. Noting here, we have 2 doses of Pfizer, the second dose we got in 09.2022. We have a left-hand drive car registered in Hungary. My wife has an “EU Settled” UK status and I have a “EU Pre-settled” status – you need to have a valid reason (tourist reason is not accepted) to travel to the UK or you must be a resident.
Your car must have winter tires for driving through Austria and Germany, also snow chains in the boot. Have a warning triangle, reflective jackets for every passengers, a first aid kit. Surprisingly, a breath analyser is no longer required in France! Because of the UK, I recommend you printing out the green card of the insurance (can be requested by the insurer). We also got our car serviced a day before of the trip (oil change etc).
Our dog is a well-experienced traveler, she has been in over 20 countries, in some of them at multiple times. So she has a European Pet Passport. When taking a dog with you to the UK, make sure the rabies vaccination is up to date! If this vaccination has expired, you need to wait 21 days from the date of the vaccination, until the dog can enter to the the UK. Important, that apart from having the rabies vaccination and Passport, your dog micro chipped too. When you visit the vet be sure:
- tapeworm is documented on the correct page and line (after the previous dose if there are more). The Vet signed it, dated, having the Veterinary`s address on the stamp or wrote manually there
- the tapeworm treatment must have been given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you enter to the UK
- for documenting the Rabies also be sure the stamp is there with signature and address, also having the protective line foil on the entry
French authorities are very sensitive for every mistake in the pet passport. All details have to be correct or they can give a fine or even can quarantine your dog for months. For detailed requirement, read this page.
Before the road-trip
- I extended our Safetywing insurance, added the countries we visit and printed out an English Visa letter detailing our international cover
- Printed out the EU Vaccination certificate detailing the dose, number and date
- Printed out our EU Settlement certificates for the UK
- Booked the Eurotunnel ticket (a return /flexible/ ticket for one car with dog was 420 EUR)
- Completed the Locator Form, not more than 48 hours of our arrival to the UK (it is a rule). For the form, you need to order an antigen test to your address in the UK. It is a complex form, asking many questions, mostly about your first 10 days in the UK (addresses, etc). The test can be ordered more than 48 hours before the arrival, I ordered it a week before. Two lateral tests costs £23.90 with delivery using AlphaExpressTesting. They provided a code I could enter on the Locator form.
- Printed out the Sworn statement form for the French authorities and the form for leaving France (nobody asked these)
- On the Eurotunnel account I uploaded our vaccination certificate and locator form
Driving through (transiting) countries to the UK
Austria: There was a drive through border control between Hungary and Austria, two officers looked into the car and asked about our final destination. When we told them “England”, they gave the sign we can pass. Note: for Austria you will need a motorway vignette, you can buy one on a fuel station or online in advance (only 2 weeks in advance as I found, no sooner or costs double the price).
Germany: there was a drive through border control as well but we were not stopped, 2 officers looked into the car from 2 meters when we slowly passed them. In Germany, we stopped overnight, near Cologne. When transiting, you can stay maximum 24 hours in Germany without needing to worry about any restrictions. So we could have a quick sleep in a hotel.
Belgium: there was no border control when we passed the border near Aachen. We avoided Netherlands by purpose, I tried avoiding crossing more countries if we can..
France: A few kilometers after the French border, a main road was narrowed and slowed down by police officers whom looked into the car – but we did not have to stop. French has some toll roads, you can pay for the roads when driving through the gate.
In Calais, we first entered to the Pet registration site, where they checked the documents of our dog. They found a minor issue and we got a warning but they did not fine us. The vet entered the tapeworm treatment under a wrong page/or line. As we arrived 3 hours earlier, we could choose a ticket 2 hours earlier to the train at the check-in gate. Good to know, that you can arrive 2-3 hours earlier to the Eurotunnel check-in and if there is space, you can check-in earlier. Also, if you late, up to 2 hours late you can choose a different train.
At the French/UK border, officers asked nothing, only checked the passports. As online, I already provided all documents in my Eurotunnel account.
UK: we did not have to quarantine ourselves and nobody asked our proof of vaccination stepping to the island or entering to our hotel. The antigen tests arrived fine to the hotel reception. The arrival is day 0 and from that you have 2 days to test yourself.
I made a mistake with my test: I opened the test kit and tested myself, without first logging into an online Portal and taking a picture of the unused device! So my test became invalid and had to find an NHS PCR test site. Luckily, there were many sites and one nearby and testing was free of charge. Next day I got the the message, the result is negative. SO my recommendation, READ first every instruction you got next with your testing device!
Reading through many websites about restrictions, rules, I got the message: traveling is dangerous and not recommended due to the pandemic. Even we traveled most of 2020 and 2021, I must admit, I still had fear of uncertainty and the possibility that somewhere they are not letting us through. But the reality was much better, we had a pleasant drive, no stress and no issues at all! If you have all documents they need for the entry, you should be fine. However also note, some countries like Austria is asking 3 vaccinations already or even a test on top in case you stay there. Hungary is also planning to require the 3rd vaccine. So I am sure, 3 or even 4 vaccination will be the new deal very soon for those, who want to travel…unfortunately.