The Brexit transition period will end at 23h00 on 31 December, 2020. This means the end of free movement within the European Union for all British nationals, who, as a consequence, will no longer have the automatic right to work and study in the EEA and Switzerland as from 1 January 2021.
Travelling for business or leisure to countries within the Schengen area will still be permitted to British citizens for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180-day period, without a visa, as from 1 January 2021. Any travel prior to this date will not be counted.
In the case of British nationals travelling to countries outside of the Schengen area, such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, a separate 90-day rule will apply for each non-Schengen country. British nationals have the right to stay in each of these countries, either for leisure or business, for a period of 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. It must be noted that this time will not count towards their 90-day Schengen area limit.
For example, after a 90-day stay in a country which belongs in the Schengen area, a British national could then travel to Cyprus which is outside of the Schengen area, and stay in the Cyprus for another 90 days. This separate 90-day rule will be applied as from 1 January 2021 and any travel to the non-Schengen countries prior to that date will not be counted.
Cyprus, does not require citizens originating from 50 designated countries to apply for a visa before their trip to Cyprus. Soon, however, Cyprus and the countries that are in the non-Schengen list will require an ETIAS travel authorization from all visitors.
The European Commission officially announced that the European Travel Information and Authorisation Service ('ETIAS') is expected to be ready and running by the end of 2022. ETIAS is an electronic system that will keep track of such visitors and ensure they do not pose a security threat. ETIAS can be used for three years, or until the passport expires, whichever comes first, once approved. There are 26 countries in Europe that will require an ETIAS travel authorization as an added security measure.
Under no circumstances will the ETIAS become a substitute for a student or work visa. The procedures for third country nationals who wish to live, study, work, or remain in Europe longer than 90 days, will remain the same in order to apply for a visa that will suit their specific requirements.
Citizens of the EU traveling in the Schengen Area are not subject to any other type of border control at their mutual borders. They can travel using their national identity card or passport.
All citizens originating from current visa-free countries will be required to submit an application before their trip once the ETIAS travel authorization becomes operational. At the moment, though, they can continue to travel to Europe without a travel authorization.
It is expected that ETIAS, will be available online for all travellers who wish to visit one or more countries in the Schengen Zone by the end of 2022.
In order to complete and receive an ETIAS travel authorization successfully, travellers need to meet the ETIAS requirements by applying online, while providing a valid passport, an email address, and a debit or credit card to pay for the application fee. Basic biographic information must be completed, such as the full name of the applicant, his date of birth, and his country of residency. At the end of the process, there will be a set of security and health questions.
It only takes a few minutes for most applications to be processed whilst all applications are checked across a series of security databases, such as, EUROPOL DATA, Interpol, SIS and more. The unique screening rules and the watchlist are elements that ETIAS will be using.
The applicant will receive a confirmation message with the travel authorization at the email address provided as soon as his application has been reviewed.
It is worth mentioning that ETIAS can only be used for transit, tourism, and business travel. For stays of a maximum of 90 days, however, either to study or work, it can also apply as a visa waiver. Travel carriers will request ETIAS from their passengers, prior to the beginning of the trip. Not being able to provide an ETIAS could result in denial of entry to the Schengen member country. This new measure of travel authorization will be an obligatory requirement as of 2022. More information about the ETIAS and its requirements can be obtained at: https://www.etiasvisa.com/etias-requirements
Originally Published by Michael Kyprianou, December 2020
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.