Changes to Travel Requirements after Brexit – what do I need to know?


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Will there be any changes to the requirements for travel from the UK after Brexit? 

The short answer is: yes, there will be changes, but for the majority of holidaymakers there will be no immediate difference.

Requirements for short trips

If you are a tourist and a UK passport holder visiting EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you do not need a visa for short trips.  You will be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180 day period, and this can be any series of short visits or one long visit.

However, if you visit more than one of these countries within a 180 day period you will need to check that you do not spend more than 90 days in total across all the countries you visit because most of these countries apply the 90 day limit as a group.

There are different rules for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. They each have their own separate 90-day limits. The time you spend in other countries does not affect how long you can spend in each of these countries without a visa.

The exception is Ireland which allows unrestricted travel from the UK as part of a common travel area for British nationals.

From the end of 2022 (the exact date to be confirmed), British travellers will need to buy an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) visa waiver for holidays and short stays to the EU. This is not a visa but a permission to enter and will be valid for 3-year periods and will allow for an unlimited amount of entries. This will be similar to the Esta permit currently required to visit the USA and is expected to cost €7.00.

Requirements for longer trips

UK citizens will no longer have an automatic right to live or work in the EU and you may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, or to study, work or travel for business. If you are staying for a longer period of time therefore it would be advisable to check the requirements for residency in the country you are visiting.  Business travel will include activities such as travelling for meetings and conferences, providing services (even with a charity), and touring art or music.

If you are travelling to an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for less than 90 days in a 180-day period, you may be able to do some things without getting a visa or work permit, for example going to a business meeting.

You may need a visa, work permit or other documentation if you’re planning to stay for longer than 90 days in a 180-day period, or if you will be doing any of the following:

  • transferring from the UK branch of a company to a branch in a different country (‘intra-corporate transfer’), even for a short period of time;
  • carrying out contracts to provide a service to a client in another country in which your employer has no presence;
  • providing services in another country as a self-employed person.

Conclusion

When visiting EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein; if you are a tourist and a UK passport holder you will not need a visa currently when visiting for short stays, although at the end of 2022 you will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver.

If you are visiting for longer stays (usually more than 90 days) you are advised to check what the requirements are in relation to obtaining a visa or work / study permit in the country where you are visiting.

You will also need to ensure you have at least 6 months left on your passport, expect for travel to Ireland where you can continue to use your passport provided it is valid for the duration of your stay.

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