Travelling from the UK to an EU country

 

This information applies to the following people, resident in the UK, and looking to travel to an EU country:

  • EU/EEA/Swiss citizens - for simplicity, referred to as EU citizens on the remainder of this page

  • British family members of EU citizens

  • Non-EU family members of EU citizens
     

For each category of nationalities, the information is split into two parts – during the 'transition period' and afterwards. This is because the rules change after the ‘transition period’, which is currently set to end on the 31st December 2020.

Note – this information is a simplified summary, it is not legal advice and could be subject to change.

See our separate page for travelling to the UK.

Jump directly to the information relevant to you:

 

You are an EU citizen

During and after the transition period

You have freedom of movement throughout the EU.

 

You can travel using your EU passport or national ID card, and there is no restriction on your length of stay in any EU country if you exercise treaty rights in that country.

 

This does not change when the transition period ends.

 

The UK may stop accepting nationality identity cards for entry to the UK for EU citizens after 2020.  In practice this may then also affect border control when leaving the UK. However if you have pre-settled or settled status, you’ll be able to continue using your national identity card to enter the UK until at least 31st December 2025.

 

You are a British family member of an EU citizen

During the transition period (currently set to end on 31st December 2020)

 

All British citizens are still seen as EU citizens during the transition period, so you have freedom of movement throughout the EU.

You can travel using your British passport, and there is no restriction on your length of stay in any EU country if you exercise treaty rights in that country.

 

After the end of the transition period (currently set to end on 31st December 2020)

 

British citizens will be treated as ‘VISA EXEMPT’, subject to reciprocity by the UK in relation with the EU27.  See paragraph 50 of the Political Declaration. This means you only require your British passport.

 

If you are travelling without your EU family member, then travelling with your passport will give you the right to stay in the Schengen zone for no more than 90 days in any 180-day period. The European Commission provides a calculator for the 90-day rule.

Should you wish to stay in the EU for periods longer than a visit, you will need to look at what options are available depending on the country you are travelling to within the EU and your circumstances.

If you are accompanying or joining an EU family member in order to live in an EU member state, then this gives you an EU residence right which is not limited to 90 days in any 180-day period (subject to your family member exercising treaty rights in that EU member state).

 

You are a non-British, non EU family member of an EU citizen

 

First of all, you need to know whether you are from a country whose nationals would ordinarily require a visa to cross the external border of the EU:

 

During the transition period (currently set to end on 31st December 2020)

If you are travelling without your EU family member, then travelling with your passport (if you are a ‘visa-exempt’ national), or with your passport and visa (if you are a ‘visa-required’ national) will give you the right to stay in the Schengen zone for no more than 90 days in any 180-day period. The European Commission provides a calculator for the 90-day rule.

 

Should you wish to stay in the EU for periods longer than a visit, you will need to look at what options are available depending on the country you are travelling to within the EU and your circumstances.

 

If you are accompanying or joining an EU family member in order to live in an EU member state, you will again need your passport to travel. Furthermore, ‘visa-required’ nationals can use a card marked ‘Residence card of a family member of a Union citizen’ instead of a visa (but see pictures below of valid cards because this can be very confusing!). 

 

Accompanying your family member gives you an EU residence right which is not limited to 90 days in any 180-day period (subject to your family member exercising treaty rights in that EU country).

After the end of the transition period (currently set to end on 31st December 2020)

If you are travelling without your EU family member, the rules are the same as during the transition period:

 

Travelling with your passport (‘visa-exempt’ national), or with your passport and visa (‘visa-required’ national) will give you the right to stay in the Schengen zone for no more than 90 days in any 180-day period. The European Commission provides a calculator for the 90-day rule

 

Should you wish to stay in the EU for periods longer than a visit, you will need to look at what options are available depending on the country you are travelling to within the EU and your circumstances.

 

If you are you are accompanying or joining an EU family member in order to live in an EU member state:

 

  • if you a ‘visa-exempt’ national, then accompanying your family member gives you an EU residence right which is not limited to 90 days in any 180-day period (subject to your family member exercising treaty rights in that EU member state). You will again need your passport to travel.

  • However, if you are a ‘visa-required’ national, the UK’s ‘Residence card of a family member of a Union citizen’ will no longer be valid after the end of the transition period. If you are travelling to an EU member state of which your EU family member is not a national, you will be entitled to apply for and be issued with a family permit visa free of charge, and as soon as possible on the basis of an accelerated procedure. For details of this procedure, check with the embassy / relevant website of the country you wish to travel to. If you are travelling to the EU member state of which your EU family is a national, check with the embassy / relevant website of that member state for details.

    This then gives you an EU residence right (subject to your EU family member exercising treaty rights) which is not limited to 90 days in any 180-day period.

 

Note the different kinds of cards which all look very similar

Residence card, issued under Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016, mentions the words ‘Residence card of a family member of a Union citizen’.

 

NOTE: Even if you also have pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, it is still possible to apply for this card during the transition period, but the card will become invalid after the end of the transition period.

EU Settlement Scheme Residence card (issued to non-EU citizens only) – this is only relevant in the UK, and is not valid for travel to the EU

Residence permit, issued under UK Immigration rules – this is only relevant in the UK, and is not valid for travel to the EU

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