Why do UK nationals need a “visa waiver” to visit the EU?

EU visa scheme for British Nationals to go live in 2023 Image: Schengen Visa Info

Earlier this year the European Union (EU) said that British travellers will need a “visa waiver” to visit any one of the bloc’s 27 countries from 2023.

The latest information, released on the weekend of May 28, confirms that all non-EU residents will require a visa to visit the EU. Some countries however, like the UK, will not require a visa but will have to apply for a waiver instead.

But for those who enjoyed free access before, the question remains why a “visa waiver”.

Brexit cancelled free movement

Leaving the EU meant that British nationals lost the freedom of movement they enjoyed before Brexit, and that’s where the “visa waiver” comes in.

British National are not subject to the visa requirements that many other non-EU countries are, but there is still is according to the EU, the need to manage visits ensuring that these are within the rules.

In the past some member countries turned a blind eye to British nationals who stayed for extended periods without proper registration or payment of income tax, in what was effectively their domiciled country. The visa waiver scheme will allow authorities to manage this issue better.

Border security

For some time the EU has wanted to secure its borders, ensuring a common approach to the admittance of visitors, migrants and immigrants. In the past not all countries applied the rules in the same way, with some member countries having allowed non-residents to gain a foothold in the EU “illegally”, often conducting criminal activities from their new residence.

Introducing the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) across the whole of the EU will ensure the rules are applied consistently, as well as ensuring that proper security checks are undertaken before the person is allowed to visit. It will also allow the bloc to better control economic migration.

For anyone who wants more information about the “visa waiver” scheme, full details are available on the Schengen Visa site.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


    • Rosie

      31 May 2022 • 13:30

      By ‘no-visa’ they mean tourist-visa exclusively.


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