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BREXIT – European Parliament Approves Visa-Free Access to EU for UK Nationals Post Brexit

On 4 April 2019, the European Parliament approved a draft law exempting UK nationals from visa requirements to enter the EU for short visits (up to 90 days in any 180-day period), once the UK leaves the EU.

The United Kingdom will be included in the list of more than 60 countries whose nationals do not need to request a visa to enter the EU for business, tourism or to visit relatives or friends. The visa exemption does not provide for the right to work in the EU, or for stays of longer than 90 days in a 180-day period.

Falling under the visa-free regime means UK nationals will need to apply for ETIAS travel authorisation prior to a trip to the EU, once this takes effect after 1 January 2021.

The legislation will apply from the day following Brexit, on the basis of reciprocity - If the UK introduces a visa requirement for nationals of any EU member state, visa requirements for UK nationals may be reintroduced.

The visa waiver will apply in all EU member states (except Ireland, which has its own visa policy), and in the non-EU Schengen countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). The rights of UK nationals in Ireland (and vice-versa), including visa-free travel, are covered under the 1949 Ireland Act, which will continue to apply if the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal.

The draft legislation will now have to be formally adopted by the Council of the European Union (Council of Ministers) and published in the Official Journal of the EU before 12 April, in case of a possible no-deal Brexit on that date.

Action items

  • Employers who may be affected by Brexit are encouraged to contact their Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.
  • Please also visit Newland Chase's Brexit guidance pages.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2019 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.