Can Britons travel in Schengen?

With Brexit approaching, can Britons still travel around the Schengen area with a British passport? Can residents in France use a carte de séjour? R.C.

29 May 2019
By Oliver Rowland

Yes, you can still travel around the area with a UK passport, despite the fact that some newly-issued passports no longer have “European Union” on them. For a start, the UK has not left the EU yet.

It is planned that, even in the case of a no-deal Brexit, Britons will be able to come for short stays of up to three months in the Schengen area with their passport and with no visa requirements.

However, once the UK has left, those coming into the area from Britain should have at least six months to run on their passports.

Also, from 2021, a new scheme called Etias will apply to non-EU visitors to the Schengen area, including Britons, assuming Brexit happens.

This involves a short online application with a €7 fee to visit the Schengen area, valid for three years. This will not apply to residents in France.

The change of wording on UK passports makes no difference; a European Com­mission source said, as rules on passport standardisation – such as wording and colour – are not legally binding and states can vary from them.

It is not possible for Britons who have a carte de séjour to use this for travel around the Schengen area, an Interior Ministry source said.

The carte is only valid in France. To travel around other Schengen countries you should have a valid passport or national identity card with you.

Even if this is not needed to cross borders – it is required for air travel – it is necessary, for example, in the case of having to prove your identity to the police abroad.

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