I am looking to travel from UK to Lisbon for my wife's passport renewal, I have found Google maps taking us from France, I do not have British passport, I am a UK resident, my kids British nationals and my wife a Portugese national. I only know I need Schengen visa and health insurance.

What else I need to make sure the journey is smooth? Is there any restriction for travelling by car?

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    If you’re taking your own car, you should check out information here gov.uk/driving-abroad on driving abroad
    – Traveller
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 13:47
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    Are you accustomed to driving long distances? On unfamiliar highways? You first have to reach Calais, and then it is around 18 hours driving. You won't do that in one hop (especially with children in the car). You might consider flying, and if the sole purpose of the trip is to renew your wife's passport you might consider leaving the children with friends or family. It might be cheaper: you'll spend a good 300 GBP on fuel alone, plus channel crossings, plus hotels en route. Commented May 8, 2023 at 14:04
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    An alternative could be to take the Plymouth-Santander ferry, which will reduce the driving distance. Commented May 8, 2023 at 14:06
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    Might be stating the obvious but if you have an EV you’ll want to check out the location/availability of charging points throughout your route theaa.com/european-breakdown-cover/driving-in-europe/…
    – Traveller
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 15:26
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    Another reason not to drive is that it's the wrong side of the road, meaning both that it takes time for drivers to get used to it and that a British car will be at a disadvantage. And if you want to stop in Paris, don't drive into the city: it's not a car-friendly place. Commented May 8, 2023 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


From comments, the focus of your question seems to be on immigration requirements rather than advice on making the trip.

As the non-EU spouse of an EU citizen, your visa application should be processed quickly and free of charge. The mode of travel makes no difference to the application requirements:

  • a valid passport / travel document
  • a document proving family ties with the EU citizen (e.g. marriage certificate, birth certificate etc.) and dependency (if required)
  • a declaration that the couple will travel together (if the family member will be accompanying the EU citizen)

Source: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-family/index_en.htm

If you’re taking your own car, you should check out information here https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad


You can book a ferry to Bilbao or Santander from the UK. (Brittany Ferries) Not a very cheap connection though. From there on you only need to drive 9 hours to Lisbon.

  • 1
    This answer was given before OP in a comment indicated to prefer driving and the question was edited to reflect that
    – Willeke
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 15:26

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