Reader question: We live in France and have a Brexit 10-year titre de séjour card but if we wish to have a holiday in another part of the EU, will we have to comply with the EES system and obtain visas?
Europe’s upcoming Entry/Exit System is aimed at being a way of tracking the movements of non-EU visitors in and out of the Schengen area but it is important to note that it will not be equivalent to a visa.
As you hold a 10-year titre de séjour and are resident in France, you will not be concerned by the EES procedures so its launch will not change anything for you when travelling within Europe. This is because you do not fall into the EES ‘visitor’ category. This is also the case for Britons who came to live in France post-Brexit and have long-stay visas or cartes de séjour as third-country nationals.
Just as before, you will not have to obtain a visa to visit other countries in the EU.
Rules regarding staying outside of your resident country (France) in other Schengen countries still apply, however.
For example, you are only entitled to spend 90 days out of any 180-day period in other Schengen countries (combined) which are not France because you are a non-EU citizen resident in the EU and not an EU citizen, therefore EU free movement rights do not apply.
If you are planning to stay longer than this in an EU country outside France then you should apply for a long-stay visa for that country.
What about passport stamping?
Having said this your passport will not be subject to stamping at internal Schengen borders, so your exact movements are unlikely to be monitored.
Your titre de séjour will not be seen as valid as a form of identity document outside France so we advise you to take your passport with you when you leave France but stay within the Schengen area, even if you are only crossing land borders by train or car.
If you are flying for your holiday to another country, you will need to have your passport with you, as you are not an EU citizen, and your residency card is not sufficient for these journeys.
In short, if your holiday is for up to 90 days and you have not had other recent trips outside France (so as to go beyond 90 days in any rolling 180-day period) you do not need to do anything.
Non-EU citizens who hold a long-stay visa or residency card in an EU country are also exempt from the ‘Etias’ policies coming into place this year, in addition to EES.
However, Etias too is not strictly-speaking a ‘visa’, but rather a ‘visa-waiver’ scheme.
It will involve an online application for permission to visit the EU, and will be for nationalities such as Britons or Americans, who are exempt from needing a full visa for short visits to France.