Brexit: travel documents for UK nationals and their family members residing in an EU country
UK nationals with residence rights in an EU country under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement do not need a visa to enter their country of residence or any other EU country. Non-EU family members of UK nationals covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, who would otherwise need a visa on the basis of their nationality, benefit from a visa exemption in their country of residence and other EU countries (see below) only if they hold a residence document.
The information on travel documents provided here also applies to UK nationals and their family members residing in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland (Schengen area countries). These countries have concluded their own separation agreements with the UK, which contain similar provisions on citizen's rights to those in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement.
What is your situation?
I am a UK national living in an EU country with residence rights under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement
Travel to my EU country of residence
You will need a passport and a residence document issued by your EU country of residence. The same rules apply to your non-EU family members who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. In some EU countries, you are required to apply for a new residence status and will be issued with a new Withdrawal Agreement residence document in the form of a biometric residence card (you can find a sample here) which you must carry when travelling or if you do not yet have this card a certificate of application. We strongly recommend that you and your family members apply for the new biometric residence card even if you reside in an EU country where you do not have to apply for a new residence status, as this card will facilitate travel.
Important information on residence documents issued under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement
The new biometric residence card for UK nationals and their family members residing in EU countries, under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, is being gradually rolled out in 2021. Deadlines for applying for the new residence document differ from one country to another, and in some EU countries, you are not required to obtain a new residence document.
Until your new biometric residence card is issued, you should generally continue to use your existing residence documents. If you have any doubt about whether you can continue using an existing residence document for travelling, please contact the authorities in the EU country that issued the document for advice. When travelling you should also bring your application for your new residence document. If, before 31 December 2020, the EU country where you live did not issue you with any residence document, you may be asked at the border to show some other evidence that you were living there in accordance with EU rules on or before 31 December 2020. In case of doubt, border guards will stamp your passport.
Regardless of the deadlines, we advise you to apply for the new biometric residence card as soon as possible. In all EU countries, you are entitled to the new biometric residence card issued under the Withdrawal Agreement for UK nationals and their family members.
In Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, The Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden it is necessary to apply for a new residence status. In these countries UK nationals and their family members will be required to apply for the new biometric residence card (issued under the Withdrawal Agreement) by a specific date. You will find the application deadlines here.
Non-EU Family members travelling to another EU or Schengen area country
When travelling to the following EU and Schengen area countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, the residence document issued to your family members by one of these countries will allow them to benefit from a visa exemption
The residence document issued to your non-EU family member by one of the above EU and Schengen area countries will also allow them to benefit from a visa exemption when travelling to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania.
However, if your EU country of residence is Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania, the residence document issued to your family members does not exempt them from a visa for travel to the Schengen area countries. However, they may benefit from a visa exemption when travelling between Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania. Please contact the national authorities for more information.
Residence documents issued by Ireland do not allow your non-EU family members to benefit from a visa exemption when travelling to any EU or Schengen area country.
I am a UK national without any status under the EU-UK Withdrawal agreement
When travelling to the Schengen area, you are not required to have a short-stay visa (Schengen visa) when crossing the external borders, if your intended stay is up to a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
If you are planning to carry out a paid activity during your stay in the Schengen area, you may have to apply for a short-stay visa. Please check with the relevant consular authorities in the country you are travelling to for more information.
I need help
If you think that your rights under EU law are not being respected and you need advice, contact our assistance service.
If you want to report a breach of your rights, you can contact the European Commission