With Brexit set for completion on December 31, one of the biggest changes Britons will feel is the impact on travel to Europe. As the country prepares for its departure, with the transition period coming to a close on October 31, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has outlined some new changes travellers should be prepared for.
The government body has updated its entry requirement regulations for a number of hotspots including Germany, Iceland, Italy, Hungary, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Spain.
For those with holiday plans to any Schengen area countries, visas will not be required so long as the trip is for a maximum of 90 days or less within a 180-day period.
The FCDO explains: “You will be able to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism.
“This is a rolling 180-day period.”
The Schengen Area is a group of countries within Europe which have abolished internal border controls.
Currently, the Schengen area consists of 26 European countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Both EU and non-EU citizens may freely travel within the Schengen area and are only checked on entry to the area and when crossing an external border.
The FCDO further clarifies: “If you’re travelling to Spain, previous visits to the Schengen area within the 180 days before your date of travel would count against the 90-day limit.
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“If you are travelling visa-free to Spain and to other countries in the Schengen area, make sure your whole visit is within the limit.”
Travellers who hope to stay for longer are required to consult each individual countries new requirements.
This could mean applying for a visa or work permit.
“The European Commission has not yet set out how the limit of 90 days in any 180-day period for visa-free travel will be implemented for those who are already travelling in the EU or Schengen Area on 31 December 2020,” adds the FCDO.
Along with the new visa regulations, Britons must keep an eye on their passport’s expiration date.
“From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland),” states the FCDO.
“If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.
“Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
“Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip.
“You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.”
The Government is encouraging Britons to check their travel documents now to avoid disappointment at the end of the year.
Other changes to come include the end of European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) for UK citizens.
This means travellers should take out “appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover” for any European holidays after January 1.
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