Millions of Britons live in European Union countries as ex-pats and have been impacted by new Brexit rules in one way or another. In order to stay living in EU member countries, Britons had to register to ensure their stay is legal, otherwise, they are subject to what is known as the Schengen rules.
Since the end of the Brexit transition period, Britons living in EU countries have become third-country citizens and so are subject to the rules of those third-country citizens.
This means any stay in an EU area exceeding 90 days in any 180 day period is illegal – if during this time you have not left the EU or you don’t possess a visa or other qualifying document.
The Schengen Area rules allow non-EU citizens and residents to stay in the Schengen territory for the time specified above.
So for example, a long weekend in Spain in July, followed by a fortnight in Greece in August, would be covered by the 90-day limit.
This typically involves filling out information of your purpose of stay, for example for work or education.
For those who have second homes in EU countries, you need to be registered as a resident in that country or else the rule still applies to you.
What happens if you overstay?
If you exceed the 90-day limit you will be deported from the EU and fined.
Those overstaying could possibly be banned from entering the EU for a specific period of time.
However, UK embassies have been quick to reassure residents they will do all they can to assist those genuinely staying in EU countries.
Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott said: “The Spanish government has been clear that it will take a pragmatic approach to anyone who is stuck in Spain due to circumstances beyond their control, so I don’t want people to be overly worried on that count.
“However, if people do not intend to become a resident here in Spain and see the UK as their base, we do expect them to take steps to return to the UK as soon as they can.”
You should also take careful note of your passport before travelling, as you will need to have
- Less than six months left before your passport runs out
- A passport less than 10 years old
What if you have a residence permit?
For British citizens who live in EU member countries and have a residence permit the 90/180-day rule will still apply if visiting another EU member country.
If you want to move from one EU country to another for longer than 90 days, you will need a long-stay visa or a residence permit – applied for in your new destination country.
There are EU Member States which do not yet fully apply the Schengen rules (those who are not yet part of the Schengen area without internal borders).
For more information on travelling within the EU after Brexit, you can visit the Government’s advice page here.