I will be going to France with my girlfriend at the end of November. She is a UK citizen. Is there any chance she may be required to get a visa in case of no-deal brexit?

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    I'd like to point two things. First is that Brexit is veiled by too much uncertainity for this Q&A, as the situation is likely to change soon and quickly. Secondarily, I appreciate this question ("UK citizen to mainland Europe", in its most generic expression regardless of which country and sentimental status of traveler) as the most popular in this period, especially because people are already booking for trips. Sep 9, 2019 at 9:52

1 Answer 1


The European Commission published its Notice on Travelling Between the EU and the United Kingdom Following Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU in November 2018 and most recently updated it July 2019.

It states that:

In view of the uncertainties surrounding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, persons who plan to travel (for private or business reasons) from the United Kingdom to the EU (and vice-versa) on the withdrawal date or thereafter, ... are reminded of the legal repercussions, which need to be considered when the United Kingdom becomes a third country.

Subject to the transition period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement, as of the withdrawal date, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom has the following consequences ...

So my interpretation is that the conditions it lays out are intended to be those that will exist permanently, only potentially being modified in the short term if there is a withdrawal agreement. Secondary sources (here: CNN) have reached the same conclusion.

It continues (section 2.1, page 5):

UK nationals ... will be subject to thorough checks of all entry conditions for third country nationals upon entry.

The entry checks on UK nationals will include verification of:

  • the possession of a valid travel document for crossing the border; the document needs to have a validity of no more than ten years, and shall be still valid for three months after the intended departure from the Member States;

  • the duration of the stay:

    • for short stays in the Schengen area, UK nationals will be subject to limitations as regards the authorised duration of stay within the Schengen area (with a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period);
    • for long stays, they will in principle require a residence permit or long stay visa issued by national authorities, under the national rules;
  • relevant databases with a view to verify:

    • the identity and the nationality of the third-country national and of the authenticity and validity of the travel document for crossing the border, and in particular:
    • if an alert has been issued in the Schengen Information System (SIS) for the purposes of refusing entry and to check possible threats to public policy, internal security, public health and international relations;
  • the purpose (e.g. tourism or work) and the conditions of the intended stay (e.g. accommodation, internal travels);

  • the existence of sufficient means of subsistence (i.e. having sufficient means to pay for the intended stay and return travel).

With box outs:

Please note that UK national passports issued prior to the withdrawal date remain valid travel documents.


The EU has exempted, as part of its Brexit contingency actions, UK nationals from the requirement to be in possession of a short-stay visa (“Schengen-visa”) when crossing the external borders, where the intended duration of the stay in the Schengen area is 90 days within a 180-day period. A continued exemption from Schengen visa will require that nationals of all EU Member States are equally exempted from UK short-stay visa requirements, following the visa reciprocity principle.

So my understanding is:

  • as long as the stay is for 90 days or less within a 180-day period, no visa is required;
  • there'll be extended questioning at the border, but similar to that you'd face when visiting any other country; and
  • this is currently intended to be the case regardless of whether a deal is agreed.

Standard caveats, of course: I'm only an armchair observer just like most of us, and in politics things can change very quickly.

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    The CNN secondary source seems off: "the possession of a valid travel document for crossing the border; the document needs to have a validity of no more than ten years, ". You can have passport that is valid for 20 years (UK passports are usually valid a bit over ten years), but you can only use it for the first 10 years of validity.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 8, 2019 at 17:19
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    @gnasher729 No, that’s how it used to work. Brexit has forced them to change the rules, and new UK passports are now only valid for ten years, because if we leave the EU won’t recognise them more than ten years from date of issue. theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/14/…
    – Mike Scott
    Sep 8, 2019 at 19:05
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    (+1) Note that the main practical consequence most short-term visitors are going to notice is that they have to get in a much longer/slower moving line. Questioning at Schengen border points is typically not super-extensive, certainly compared to the UK (for visa-exempt non-EU citizens).
    – Relaxed
    Sep 8, 2019 at 19:23
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    @Relaxed it's also possible that cheap airlines (Ryanair/Wizzair) will start demanding that UK citizens check-in at the ticket counter, as opposed to using online check-in as they'd now be subject to a 90/180 limit. Going to add a lot of previously unknown pain.
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 9, 2019 at 6:18
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    @Relaxed: As an American who always gets in the slow line, I have never been questioned by any Schengen border official in any way. They just take my passport and stamp it. Perhaps they intend to subject UK citizens to a different level of scrutiny, but I would find that surprising given how nonchalant they appear to be about the US. Hilariously, the US questions me almost every time. You would think the Schengen people'd be more suspicious...
    – Kevin
    Sep 9, 2019 at 6:23

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