Brexit: EU countries may ban UK nationals next year

Brexit: EU countries may ban UK nationals next year

Less than 30 days to go until UK nationals who have not registered their residence in an EU state will be considered third-country nationals by EU nations.  

Travellers from the UK face the possibility of being included in the EU's ban on non-essential travel after the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31st.

Currently, the EU's external borders are closed to non-essential travel for all countries apart from those on the short list of ‘safe' countries.

Travel within Europe, however, is allowed for any reason considering individual countries' lockdowns and rules on quarantine/testing for new arrivals.

Travel amidst the pandemic

The European Commission currently says that travel is allowed for any reason between EU and Schengen Zone countries and that includes the UK, but once the Brexit transition period ends on December 31st, the UK will become a ‘third country', not part of the EU or the Schengen zone.

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, although the UK is officially out of the EU, UK nationals can still travel to any of the EU nations without restriction until 31 December. 

However, it will be a different story after the transition period ends.

A spokesperson for the EU Commission has stated that “At the end of the transition period, the Council will have to consider the addition of the United Kingdom to the list of third countries exempted from travel restrictions. This is a decision for the Council to make.”

No date was given for this decision.

UK nationals who have officially registered their residence in any of the EU member states will be exempted from this rule. This means that they will not be considered as third-country nationals.

Third countries on EU’s Safe list

The EU Commission has recommended a list of non-EU nationals who are allowed inside the EU territory without restriction.

The following non-EU nationals can enter the EU territory without restriction:

  • Australia
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand

Exemptions to the travel ban

Non-EU nationals can enter the EU for non-essential travel for the following reasons;

  • Non EU citizens who are permanent residents of an EU country and need to come home
  • Healthcare workers engaged in crucial work on the coronavirus crisis
  • Frontier workers and in some circumstances seasonal workers
  • Delivery drivers
  • Diplomats, humanitarian or aid workers
  • Passengers in transit
  • Passengers travelling for imperative family reasons
  • Persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons
  • Third country nationals travelling for the purpose of study
  • Highly qualified third-country workers IF their employment is essential from an economic perspective and cannot be postponed or performed abroad

The rules are based on the country you are travelling from, not the passport you hold.

EU Second Homeowners

From January 1, 2021, UK nationals can spend 90 days out of every 180 period in the EU without visa or residency. 

EU second homeowners can especially feel the time crunch as they may wish to stay longer. To rectify this, they have two options.

  1. Apply for EU Residence
  2. Get a visa

Applying for Residency

This is more than simply declaring ‘I'm a resident'. For example, to become resident in France, you will need to apply for a carte de séjour residence permit and get a residence card before October 2021.

To find out how to apply for residency in some Schengen countries, check out some of these articles:

Getting a visa

For people who want to remain resident in the UK but want to spend longer periods in the EU then, the best option is to apply for a Schengen visa. You will be required to provide proof that you can support yourself during your stay along with other requirements.

Find out how to apply for a Schengen visa in this blog post.

Have you settled your residence in the EU or the UK? Comment below.

IaM can help with your visa application to the United States, the UK & other countries

If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.


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