Available languages:

  • English
  • Doing business
    Last checked: 15/07/2022

    Travel documents for UK nationals and their family members residing in an EU country

    Coronavirus: safely resuming travel

    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. Similarly, they do not need a visa when travelling to any other EU country for short stays, that is up to 90 days in any 180 day period. 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 for short stays in other EU countries which are part of the Schengen free movement area (see below) only if they hold a residence document issued under EU law.

    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 EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement.

    Important information on residence documents issued under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement

    In some EU countries, UK nationals were required to apply for a new residence status and were issued with a new Withdrawal Agreement residence document in the form of a biometric residence card (you can find a sample here). You must carry this document with you 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 did not have to apply for a new residence status, as this card will facilitate travel.

    Travel to another Schengen area country

    UK national Withdrawal Agreement beneficiaries travelling from their Schengen country of residence to another Schengen area country fall under the "visa free short stay rule" meaning they can travel visa free for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. In addition, in line with Schengen rules, any non-EU national legally resident in a Schengen area country, whether subject to a visa obligation or not, must have a residence document and a valid travel document for travel to another Schengen area country for a short stay. You will therefore need a residence document issued by your EU country of residence, as well as your passport when you travel to another Schengen area country.

    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 for short stays, i.e. up to 90 days in any 180 day period.

    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 for short stays.

    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.

    Passport stamping

    Depending on national law, border guards may stamp your passport when entering and exiting your country of residence. This practice does not serve any real purpose as the 90-day stay limitation does not apply to beneficiaries of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement (including their family members) when travelling to their EU country of residence. However, to prove your residence status and associated rights (i.e. the non-applicability of the 90-day stay limitation in a 180-day period), we advise you to show your national residence documents issued (under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement) in your EU country of residence when crossing an external Schengen border. Read more about the Rules for UK nationals when entering or leaving the Schengen area.

    Warning

    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. The same restriction applies for travel to Ireland, unless your non-EU family member holds a residence document issued under EU free movement rules.  Read more about travelling in the EU with your non-EU family members, and how to apply for a visa if they need one.

    I am a UK national without any status under the EU-UK Withdrawal agreement

    When travelling to the Schengen area for short stays, 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. However, border guards will stamp your passport on entry to and exit from the Schengen area to ensure you respect this 90-day limitation.

    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.

    Your non-EU family members may need a visa, depending on their nationality. Read more about travelling in the EU with your non-EU family members, and how to apply for a visa if they need one.

    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

    EU legislation

    Need support from assistance services?

    Get in touch with specialised assistance services

    Share this page: