At present, all UK citizens with valid passports can travel to any other European Union (“EU”) member state by simply producing their passport at the relevant border. EU agreements permit the free movement of people, however, once the UK stops being a member state, Britons will no longer be able to move as freely.
On 13/11/18, the European Commission announced that although UK citizens are unlikely to require a visa to enter the Schengen area post-Brexit for short term stay, they will require ‘travel authorisation’ by applying for what will be known as a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (“ETIAS”).
This new system is expected to come into force in 2021 and will be a mandatory step for UK nationals wishing to travel within the Schengen area. Airlines, ferry firms, train operators or coach companies will check a valid ETIAS has been obtained before departure, failing which travel will be refused.
The process of obtaining an ETIAS is intended to be fairly straightforward and made, and paid for through an accessible online application.
If approved, the ETIAS will last three years and will allow unlimited entry to EU countries within the three year period.