EU Favourable Vote. Visa Waiver Depends on UK Reciprocity

EU voted to waiver visas for UK nationals who wish to travel to the EU. This will go ahead if the UK reciprocates for all 27 member states.
UK nationals would be able to enter the EU visa-free for short periods after the country’s exit, provided EU nationals enjoy the same conditions when travelling to the UK.

By unanimity (53 votes) on Tuesday, the Civil Liberties Committee backed rules exempting UK nationals who are British citizens of visa requirements for stays in the EU of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, from the day following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Once the bill is agreed by both co-legislators (Parliament and Council), the United Kingdom will be included in the list of 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.

Update: the bill has passed on the 10th of April 2019, the relevant EU reglaments have been amended to include the UK on the list of countries whose citizens are exempt from applying for a visa to pass the external borders of the EU. The exemption is not valid for citizens of British Overseas Territory, nor citizens of BOT who have acquired their citizenship from a connection with Gibraltar.

No visa waiver without reciprocity

The draft specifically states that the visa waiver will be granted to UK nationals on the basis of reciprocity, i.e., provided that EU nationals are also given visa-free access for short business or tourist trips to the UK if it becomes a non-EU country.

If the UK introduces a visa requirement for nationals of at least one member state, “the reciprocity mechanism foreseen in EU legislation should apply”, says the text. This should lead to visa requirements for UK nationals being reintroduced. “The European Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the Member States should act without delay in applying the reciprocity mechanism. The Commission should monitor the respect of the principle of reciprocity on a continuous basis and immediately inform the European Parliament and the Council of any developments which could endanger the respect of that principle.”

Note: a possible bottleneck for reciprocity from the UK could be the line in the Reglament that states that Gibraltar is a Colony of the British Crown.

The visa waiver will be applicable in all EU member states (except Ireland, which has its own visa policy) and in the Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). Ireland and the UK have a specific bilateral arrangement which provides for visa-free travel between both countries.

Time remaining in a Schengen Area Calculator

Thank you to the European Parliament for this information taken from the press release, 29/01/2019.

Important On Visas for the UK:

Published by the UK Government: 29 March 2019

“The government is proposing to end free movement, but this is still subject to approval by Parliament. Once free movement has ended, if you’re a citizen of any other EU or EEA country, or Switzerland, you’ll still be able to enter the UK without a visa but only for up to 3 months.

What you need to show at the UK border will not change, even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
You’ll need to show a valid passport or national identity card if you’re a citizen of either: an EU country Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland”

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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