The appointment of Boris Johnson to the post of British Prime Minister and the increasing likelihood of a no-deal Brexit could affect UK citizens traveling to Europe, experts warn.
Since taking power in July, the former Mayor of London has fully committed to plans to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union by October 31st, even if this means a no-deal Brexit scenario. This week, Johnson will attend the G7 summit in Biarritz with the goal of changing EU attitudes on the Brexit deal, despite his opposition to European insistence that backstop regulations be implemented to prevent a dispute on the Irish border.
Despite the increasing possibility of a no-deal Brexit, Johnson has remained firm that the British government will see the process of splitting from the European Union through to the end. Since entering office, he has continued to seek a ‘better deal’ from the EU, despite the fact that Brussels refused to entertain any possibility of renegotiating the treaty finalized in November by previous Prime Minister Theresa May.
Consequently, Johnson has recently warned UK citizens to prepare for a no-deal Brexit in the event no agreement with Brussels can be reached. One of the biggest ways in which British citizens could be affected is by their ability to continue to travel to the EU without first obtaining a travel document.
At the moment, UK citizens are able to travel to study or work in European Union countries without obtaining a visa or travel authorization. The majority of British travel for tourism to foreign countries is currently to European Union states, but a no-deal Brexit could put an end to this and send British tourists to other holiday destinations.
Regardless of the outcome of the Brexit deal, from 2021 UK citizens will be required to obtain an electronic travel authorization in order to travel to any of the 26 Schengen Area passport-free countries. However, the upcoming ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) will only apply to the Schengen zone, and it is currently unclear what travel documents UK citizens will need to travel to other European Union countries.
However, the British government has advised all UK citizens to ensure that passports are valid for at least 6 months when traveling after October 31st if there is a no-deal Brexit. This is because, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, British passport holders will be considered third country nationals according to the Schengen agreement.
It is currently unknown how Brexit will change the status of UK nationals living, working, or studying in the European Union, although the British government has asked EU countries to uphold the rights of UK citizens even if a Brexit agreement cannot be reached.