UK holidaymakers Could be Barred from EU after 1st January
10th December 2020
Last modified on December 21st, 2020
Current Covid-19 rules only allow people from the EU, European Economic Area and Schengen countries to cross the borders. There are a handful of exceptions, but newspaper reports claim the EU has indicated the UK will not be exempt. The Foreign Secretary has played down the reports.
UK travellers could be barred from entering the EU from 1st January as travel regulations associated with being part of the EU expire after the transition period ends and pandemic rules block entry.
The situation is reported in the Guardian and Financial Times newspapers today.
Only a handful of countries with low coronavirus rates are exempt from the EU Commission restrictions, with the UK included only until the end of the Brexit transition period that ends on December 31st.
It would have a devastating impact on UK skiers and snowboarders, that’s if ski resorts even open in January.
They are currently closed in France and Italy, with tight restrictions in Austria when it opens its ski areas on December 24th.
The majority of EU countries already have quarantine entry requirements for travellers from the UK, but this would be an outright ban.
Switzerland is not in the EU and therefore would still be accessible for snowsports.
EU member states can override the European council recommendations should they wish to.
The Foreign Office currently advises against all nonessential travel to most of the European ski nations.
Norway is an exception, but people arriving from the UK currently have to quarantine.
Within the EEA, or Schengen-associated states, Norway has said it will bar UK visitors from 1st January, according to the Financial Times.
“We cannot comment on decisions that could be taken by other states on public health matters,” said a UK government spokesperson.
“We take a scientific, risk-based approach to health measures at the border, and it is of course in the interests of all countries to allow safe international travel as we emerge from the pandemic.”
The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has played down the reports.
Speaking in BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said that the reality was that leisure travel for all European nations was likely to be restricted until spring.
“Between now and the spring when the vaccine will have hopefully moved matters back to something akin to normal we are going to have to keep very close eye and control over the virus – with the tiered restrictions, with the mass testing,” said Dominic Raab.
“Other European countries will be doing the same. And in the meantime, the travel restrictions, the quarantine rules and the rest of it, will have to track the progress we make.”
Mr Raab said a post-Brexit agreement was in place allowing Britons to travel within Europe without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period.
From January 1st UK nationals will need at least 6-months left on their passports and a host of other rules and restrictions will come into force.
“As a non-EEA national, different border checks will apply when travelling to other EU or Schengen area countries. You may need to show a return or onward ticket and that you have enough money for your stay.
“You may also have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped for visits to these countries,” the UK government says.
By law, border officials are required to ask non-EU travellers extra questions.
“From January 1st 2021, you will be able to travel to other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism. This is a rolling 180-day period,” says the UK government.
“To stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel, you will need to meet the entry requirements set out by the country to which you are travelling. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit. You may also need to get a visa if your visit would take you over the 90 days in 180 days limit.”