My wife has dual nationality British and Irish (with a British and Irish passport) I only have a British passport. We like to travel around Europe in our Motorhome between Jan and June. Would I need a visa to do this after Brexit for each country we visit, or can I only stay for 90 days?

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    I doubt this is a feasible plan for 2021 regardless of Brexit.
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 7:40
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    @gerrit on account of public health restrictions? Why? It seems like remaining isolated in a motor home is an ideal way to pass the time, though the choice of destinations will of course be somewhat reduced.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 14:16
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    @phoog Denmark just closed it border to Germany for all but non essential travel. Others will follow suit. Even in your area this seems to be so: Coronavirus Information and Resources for Travelers to NYC Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 15:07
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    @phoog because non-necessary international travel during a pandemic is incredibly ill advised and downright irresponsible, nevermind the rapidly changing restrictions week to week. During winter this is doubly true.
    – eps
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 15:51
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    @phoog Because lots of countries have (mutual) quarantine requirements, which apply even to people who are going to spend 6 months as hermits in the wilderness, despite the latter being unable to spread a viral disease. Maybe some leisure travel will be possible, but not anything that involves planning months ahead.
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 16:00

3 Answers 3


Because your wife is an Irish citizen, you are the spouse of an EU citizen. You will therefore continue to have rights under the free movement directive even after most citizens of the UK cease having those rights. In particular, as long as you travel with your wife (or to join her), you are a beneficiary of the directive. So in fact, very little will change for you as far as traveling with your wife is concerned. This would not be true if your wife were not an Irish citizen.

Because you qualify for free movement, you may remain indefinitely in any EU country provided that you have sufficient resources (or your wife is working, studying, or looking for work, but these don't seem to apply to you). You may spend up to three months in each EU country without having to register. You may be required to register with the authorities to remain longer than three months. The details of this registration depend on the country in question -- some don't require it at all.

The 90/180 rule that applies to most short-term visitors in the Schengen area does not apply to you. This is explicit in the Schengen Borders Code, which excludes beneficiaries of the directive from the provisions applying to nationals of so-called "third countries."

Would I need a visa to do this after Brexit for each country we visit, or can I only stay for 90 days?

The UK is going to be on the visa-exempt list for the Schengen area (otherwise known as "Annex II"). Because of that, family members with a derivative right of free movement may only be required to have a visa if their country of nationality is an "Annex I" country. In other words, you will continue to be able to visit the Schengen area by yourself for short visits without a visa, and you will not need a visa in the Schengen area when you are there with your wife.

(If the relationship between the UK and the EU should become so strained that they introduce visa requirements, then you would also need a visa to travel with your wife, at least in theory, but family members crossing at the land border are generally admitted without such a visa provided they have satisfactory evidence of their family relationship. Furthermore, the possibility of such a severe deterioration between the UK and the EU seems very remote.)

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    "very little will change for you as far as traveling with your wife is concerned" — as someone in a similar boat until my wife took EU citizenship, I'd say the biggest aspect is whether or not ground staff & immigration officials are aware of the rules. We've had to politely explain multiple times that "no, she doesn't need a visa", which sometimes involves a call upstairs. Never refused entry in the end though. Hopefully less likely after Brexit with more people in same position. You may want to bring proof of your relationship (e.g. I've a photo of our marriage cert to hand on my mobile) Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 11:08

Make sure that your wife enters with her EU (Irish) Passport, so that you (as a, visa free, non EU Citizen) are entering and staying as a spouse of an EU Citizen.

A long as both of you don't remain in one member state longer than 3 months, there should be no problem when leaving.

You will probably have more problems with any coronavirus specific restrictions, that at present cannot be forseen.

Assuming both are at present (2020) United Kingdom residents, proper health insurance will be required. The European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) will still be valid for your EU Spouse, but not for you if you enter after the 1st of January 2021.

If you have a United Kindom driver's licence, an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some countries may be needed.

If you are driving a United Kingdom registered car (Motorhome), you might also need a ‘green card’ or valid proof of insurance and a GB sticker.


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    If the wife uses her UK passport to enter the Schengen area, it does not affect the couple's right to remain in the Schengen area indefinitely. Also, I doubt the spouse's UK-issued EHIC card will be valid, since these cards depend on residence, not citizenship.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 0:40
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    @phoog Travelling with the relevent passport make things simpler (no need to make it more complicated). Let's assume the UK government added Using EHIC from 1 January 2021: an EU national living in the UK before the end of 2020 for a good reason. Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 0:52

The worst-case scenario is ordinary Brits will be able to stay for up to 90 days per 180-day period, upon justifying the purpose and funds for the trip if asked (I can imagine the French will be extremely lax about requiring documentation of British citizens).

As a family member of an EU national, however, you'll continue to be free to enter with no restrictions if accompanied by, or travelling to join, your wife. @phoog's answer covers it in detail.

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    You're forgetting that the spouse of an EU citizen benefits from directive 2004/38/EC, so as long as they travel together, there's not much change, and the 90/180 restriction does not apply.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 0:41
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    @phoog Somehow slipped my mind that it's a family member. Thanks
    – Crazydre
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 17:41
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    I can easily imagine a much worse scenario than what you describe in your first paragraph.
    – AakashM
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 9:23
  • Just as EU Citizens, for short term visits to the UK after the re-introduction of the passport requirement (2021-10-01), must respect the granted leave to enter so will UK Citizens be required to respect the 90/180 days rule. Exceptions should not be assumed. 2020-10-08, The Border Operating Model - Page 259 Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 10:01
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    @AakashM Nah, won't happen. The EU may threaten as much as they like, just as they've done with the US as a means of political power play, but common sense tends to ultimately prevail in these matters.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 22:02

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