This article will explain key provisions of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and what it means for UK citizens who travel to Europe. The EU-UK Trade Agreement was signed on December 24, 2020, and became effective on May 1, 2021.
This agreement defines the UK-EU relationship post-Brexit, including short-term travel with ETIAS and the new visa waiver. Also discussed are the rights of British citizens living in and working in EU countries. The UK has also reached financial agreements with several non-European countries and a trade agreement with the EU.
Leisure and business trips to Europe
Since 1973, when the UK joined the EU (back then known as the European Economic Area), citizens could move around Europe freely. This is no longer true now that the Brexit transition period is over.
For EU nationals, travelers can still visit the United Kingdom for short trips. However, they must have permission to enter Europe. This is outlined in Article VSTV.1:
“…both sides provide visa-free travel to short-term visitors for their nationals, by their domestic laws.”
This allows both UK and EU citizens to continue to travel for study, research, training, tourism, and youth exchange programs. UK citizens won’t need to apply for Schengen visas like other nationalities. The rules regarding driving, healthcare, and mobile roaming fees have been updated.
ETIAS for UK citizens
While British citizens don’t need a visa for Europe, they will require an ETIAS visa waiver starting in 2023. To register non-EU visa-exempt countries, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIS) is being created. According to the EU Commission, British tourists will need ETIAS to enter Europe from Britain.
ETIAS is much easier than a visa. The registration process can be done online, and you don’t need to visit any consulates or embassies. ETIAS will be introduced to increase security across the EU. Visitors will be screened before arriving, which will prevent potentially dangerous individuals from legally crossing the border.
As with all ETIAS applicants, British passport holders must pay a small fee to cover the system’s running costs. The EU’s surplus revenue from ETIAS can be added to the EU’s general budget. Hence, it is possible to claim that UK tourists will continue contributing to the EU budget even after Brexit.
The time limits of stay after ETIAS
As with other visa-exempt third nationals, holders of UK passports can stay in Schengen for up to 90 consecutive days. A valid ETIAS authorization approved by the destination government will be proper for three years or until the passport expires. British travelers won’t have to apply every time they travel to Europe.
ETIAS and Brexit are coincidental. ETIAS is not a result of Brexit. The travel authorization would not have been required for British passport holders if the UK had not left the European Union.
Traveling to the United Kingdom from the EU
The United Kingdom will soon offer its visa waiver called the UK ETA. European Union citizens won’t need a visa to enter Britain for short vacations or business trips. However, they will require an electronic travel authorization similar to what the EU is asking from British citizens or other visa-free travel country residents.
According to the British government, the United Kingdom’s visa waiver should be implemented by 2025. The ETA will be a mandatory entry requirement once the new system has been implemented. The UK ETA, like ETIAS, will be a digital program. Before traveling to the United Kingdom, visitors will need to apply online.
The number of people turned away at the UK’s border increased in 2021. The UK visa waiver can help to reduce this number by pre-screening visa-free travelers.