Do British citizens need a visa for Europe?
Some travellers had expressed concerns that British citizens would need a visa to enter Europe after Brexit. This is not, however, the case. Although the UK is now outside the EU, British citizens do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Area and stay short-term.
Although there are no visa requirements for UK citizens, travellers will need to apply for ETIAS from the end of 2022. The European Travel Information and Authorisation System is being introduced to improve safety and security across the Schengen Area.
Non-EU citizens from visa-exempt countries, such as the UK, will need ETIAS to cross an external border. ETIAS is not a visa and will be much easier to obtain. The application process is fully online and will take just a few minutes to complete.
The biggest change for UK nationals following Brexit is that the maximum length they can stay is now limited to 90 days per 180-day period. Once ETIAS is introduced, the permit will be valid for multiple stays of up to 3 months in any of the Schengen countries.
British passport holders can find out more about applying for ETIAS from the UK below.
ETIAS requirements for UK citizens
UK Citizens are eligible to apply for the ETIAS waiver for travel to the Schengen Area. Below, UK ETIAS applicants can find a list of requirements that each traveller must have:
- A valid United Kingdom (or other ETIAS approved country) passport.
- A credit or debit card, which will be used to pay for the ETIAS application fee for UK citizens.
- An active email address so that the decision on whether the waiver has been granted can be communicated.
Each traveller must complete the ETIAS application form accurately and truthfully.
The ETIAS application process for UK citizens
The ETIAS application for UK applicants will be completed entirely online. This means that travellers will not need to be in the United Kingdom when they are applying for the visa waiver.
Although the ETIAS application is designed to be completed quickly and simply, all the information provided must be accurate and correct. Mistakes could result in a delay or the outright rejection of the waiver.
In addition to paying the ETIAS fee by credit or debit card, UK nationals applying for the ETIAS visa waiver will need to provide the following information:
- Personal information that includes the traveller’s full name, their date and place of birth, and their gender
- Contact details including current address, email address, and phone number
- Passport details including the passport number and country of issue, the date of issue, and the date of expiration
- Travel plans such as which country travellers will enter and which other countries they intend on visiting
In addition to the information mentioned above, travellers may also be required to provide answers to further questions dealing with health and security. This information is then cross-checked against the Schengen security systems to detect any possible threats.
ETIAS applicants are informed of the decision by email.
Although European authorities anticipate an ETIAS waiver acceptance rate of around 95%, the possibility remains that an application may be denied. In such cases, the applicant will receive justification for the rejection via email, and will then have the right to appeal the decision. All appeals will be made directly to the individual Schengen member-country that the traveller intends to initially enter, and will be handled according to the individual laws of that country.
It is important to note that ETIAS does not guarantee entry to Europe, the final decision lies with European border officials.
Why the need for ETIAS?
ETIAS is being introduced to boost security across the Schengen Area. Until now, travellers from visa-exempt countries have been able to enter Europe without undergoing additional background checks.
The new system will allow many foreigners to maintain their visa-free privileges whilst making Europe safer for residents and other visitors. British passport holders will be able to enjoy top European holiday destinations with greater peace of mind than ever before.
Visiting Europe after Brexit: latest news
Here UK citizens can find the latest Brexit travel news. Since leaving the UK, the way British nationals travel to European destinations has changed. British passport holders should familiarise themselves with the new rules and regulations.