The EU has agreed to give British citizens visa-free travel to EU member states, even if there is a no-deal Brexit.
EU ambassadors agreed last week that, following Brexit, British citizens coming to the Schengen area for a short stay (90 days in any 180 days) should be granted visa free travel.
This visa exemption is granted on condition of reciprocity. The British Government has previously stated that it does not intend to require a visa from EU citizens travelling to the UK for short stays. But in the event that the United Kingdom introduces a visa requirement for nationals of at least one-member state in the future, the EU would “commit to act without delay” to impose reciprocal visa requirements on British citizens, it warns.
However, the European Commission has also confirmed that as of 2021, UK visitors to the EU will have to pay €7 for the European Travel Information and Authorization Scheme (ETIAS), which can be bought online ahead of travel. This will last for three years and ensure smooth entry at EU borders and airports, similar to the current ESTA scheme that many tourists use to travel to the United States.
While the announcement was on the whole welcomed, it has also sparked a certain amount of controversy, after Gibraltar was described as a British colony. The regulation distinguishes between those ‘living in Britain and those who are citizens of Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory which is now in the EU’.
A spokesperson for the UK government responded to the announcement, stating: “The EU’s provisions for visa-free travel into and out of the Schengen area cover Gibraltar, and mean that in any scenario, British nationals from Gibraltar will be able to travel for short stays in and out of Spain and other countries in the Schengen area.
“Gibraltar is not a colony and it is completely inappropriate to describe in this way.”
Article published 4th February 2019