01 Feb

Visa free travel after Brexit: European Council agrees negotiating mandate

European Union ambassadors today (1 February 2019) agreed that, following Brexit, UK citizens coming to the Schengen area for a short stay (90 days in any 180 days) should be granted visa free travel. Ambassadors mandated the Council Presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament on this legislative proposal.

EU rules

According to EU rules, visa exemption is granted on condition of reciprocity. The government of the United Kingdom has stated that it does not intend to require a visa from EU citizens travelling to the UK for short stays.

In the event that the United Kingdom introduces a visa requirement for nationals of at least one member state in the future, the existing reciprocity mechanism would apply and the three institutions and the member states would commit to act without delay in applying the mechanism.

Background

Visa policy towards third country citizens travelling to the Schengen area for a short stay is regulated under EU legislation. Existing rules include all third country nationals under one of two lists: nationals of third countries required to be in possession of a visa and those exempt from this requirement.

Following Brexit, as a third country the United Kingdom will need to appear under one of these two lists.

Click here to access the Regulation (EU) 2018/1806 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement.

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