BREXIT – European Parliament Approves Visa-Free Access to EU for UK Nationals Post Brexit

What has changed

On April 4, 2019 the European Parliament approved a draft law exempting UK nationals from visa requirements to enter the EU for short visits (up to ninety [90] days in any 180-day period), once the UK leaves the EU.

Who is affected

Clients who have hired or intend to employ UK nationals in the EU.

What to expect

The United Kingdom will be included in the list of more than sixty (60) 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, or for stays of longer than ninety (90) days in a 180-day period.

Falling under the visa-free regime means UK nationals will need to apply for ETIAS travel authorization prior to a trip to the EU, once this takes effect after January 1, 2021.

The legislation will apply from the day following Brexit, on the basis of reciprocity – If the UK introduces a visa requirement for nationals of any EU member state, visa requirements for UK nationals may be reintroduced.

The visa waiver will apply in all EU member states (except Ireland, which has its own visa policy), and in the non-EU Schengen countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). The rights of UK nationals in Ireland (and vice-versa), including visa-free travel, are covered under the 1949 Ireland Act, which will continue to apply if the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal.

The draft legislation will now have to be formally adopted by the Council of the European Union (Council of Ministers) and published in the Official Journal of the EU before April 12 in case of a possible no-deal Brexit on that date.

What you need to do

Affected employers are encouraged to contact their Emigra Worldwide immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

This alert was prepared with information provided by Newland Chase.