I am a U.K. citizen with a Bulgarian residents card. If I fly into Spain, does my passport have to be stamped as a third country national now after Brexit. Also if I transit Spain or another Member state on route to BG does it also get stamped?

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    May be relevant: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/157743/…
    – xngtng
    Commented Feb 5, 2021 at 19:39
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    Your residence in a non-Schengen country as no effect on the entry or exit of the Schengen Area. Your passport should allways be stamped on entry and exit. Should, for whatever reason, this be 'forgotten' retain some proof of when you entered or left as proof that you did not overstay. Until the Entry/Exit System (EES) is introduced, the entry/exit stamps will remain a requirement. Commented Feb 6, 2021 at 19:39
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    It could be argued that British citizens who reside in the EU still enjoy (some) freedom of movement rights (which would exempt them from most of the Schengen Borders Code rules). The withdrawal agreement isn't explicit about that. It's not relevant for British citizens but EU citizens who reside in the UK can use their national ID card until 2025 (vs. September 2021 for those who don't) so clearly the UK isn't free to impose a stamping requirement until then. Why would the EU be? Pointing to the general Schengen rules does nothing to clarify this issue.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 19:06
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    @MarkJohnson The Borders Code is hardly a foolproof reference. Even with completely ordinary residence permits, stamping is regulated at the national level with many states not doing it.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 21:48
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    @MarkJohnson Nope, confirmed it won't happen. Nor do they stamp AU/CA/JP/NZ/US passports. The exception is if entering in TIer 5 or Permitted Paid Engagement status, in which case you get stamped (on a form IS116 if using an ID card)
    – Crazydre
    Commented Feb 27, 2021 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


Yes, your passport should be stamped when entering or leaving the Schengen Area.

The Schengen Border Code - Article 11 states that all 3rd country nationals should be systematically stamped.

Article 11(3) gives a list of exceptions:

  • (g): who present a residence card provided for in Directive 2004/38/EC.
    • which applies to members of the family of a Union citizen

Other exceptions for 3rd country nationals, who are residents, are not listed in this article.

British citizens will receive a residence permit based on the Withdrawal Agreement Article 18(4).

Any previous issued residence card must be replaced with this document and became invalid after the 31st of December 2020 (and with it the Freedom of Movement).

Do I continue to have the possibility to move freely within the European Union?
No, this possibility ceased to exist when the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union – unless you fulfil the conditions under the Withdrawal Agreement in a number of countries, in which case you can also assert your right in these other countries. Please note that the procedures and deadlines may be different in other Member States. In addition, of course, if you are also a citizen of another EU or EEA state, you can continue to assert your mobility rights.

A further, limited possibility for mobility within the EU exists if you fulfil the conditions for a permanent EU residence permit or for the EU Blue Card. You can apply for these rights of residence for third-country nationals even if you have an entitlement under the Withdrawal Agreement.

In combination with your passport, your new residence document enables you to travel within the Schengen countries for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. However, it does not allow you to work in or move to other countries. To do that, you require permission from the other country concerned.

Your residence document does not constitute any form of entitlement outside the Schengen countries. That also applies to the EU member states that are not Schengen states, i.e. Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Cyprus. Ireland has special rules for UK nationals.


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    Firstly, far from all Schengen states stamp residence permit holders in general (it's decided at the national level - ihr tut es z.B. nicht!). Secondly the Withdrawal Agreement has an impact; if OP were residing in Spain, they definitely aren't to be stamped by Spain, but with residents of other EU/Schengen states I'm unsure (the EC didn't give me a clear reply, which is of course poor on their part)
    – Crazydre
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 21:54
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    I'm telling you the Borders Code doesn't necessarily correspond to national policy, which differs between member states. It's because of an EC recommendation, just above chapter 4 here ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2009/EN/…. And again, the WA comes into play as well
    – Crazydre
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 22:35
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    There is a question on here somewhere, or maybe on Expatriates in which @Crazydre makes it abundantly clear through some very convincing evidence that some Schengen countries do not stamp passports of residence permit holders even though the SBC quite clearly says that they should. Before hanging your position too securely on the letter of the SBC, you may want to seek out that question. While Bulgaria isn't yet fully in the Schengen area, it does implement some of the Schengen acquis, so practice may be similar for holders of Bulgarian permits.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 23:25
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    @MarkJohnson Much of Schengen regulations also covers BG+CY+HR+RO. That said, I haven't actually checked those countries' policies, hence saying the answer isn't obvious unless you have it from the Bulgarians.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 23:36
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    @MarkJohnson Doesn't prevent the others from using it as a basis for their national practice too. The point is it's de facto decided at the national level, with the EC not interfering in any of it
    – Crazydre
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 10:56

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