As a British passport holder and a second homeowner with a property in Europe you may already be aware of the EU 90/180 Rule. Whether you were familiar with the Schengen Rules before Brexit transfer on 1st January 2021 or not, read on. There are some details you need to note and act on with every trip you plan.
What is the EU 90/180 Rule?
For those of you familiar with the Schengen Area in Europe, and the visitors rights to remain for a defined period ruling, will be aware that there may be changes for British passport holders post Brexit on 1 January 2021. As a British passport holder and resident with a second property in Europe, you will now be treated as a third country citizen outside the Schengen Area. With the transfer of rights implied by Brexit happening on Friday 1st January 2021 Great Britain will need to comply with all manner of EU legislation.
The EU 90/180 Rule is one that will definitely affect British home owners who have second homes in Europe.
How will affect British passport holders visiting Europe?
In a recent seminar EU officials confirmed that UK visitors will be treated as ‘third-country’ (non-EU/EEA/Swiss) citizens. This takes full effect from January 1 and will be subject to EU 90/180 Rule. That means the rule of staying no more than 90 days in any 180-day period.
As with other third-country citizens, their passports will be stamped with the date of entry and exit so border officials can check they do not overstay, the EU says.
So as to have passports stamped, Britons will have to join the ‘all passports’ lanes at EU airports, not fast EU-only automatic gates, and could, in theory, be asked for additional paperwork.
Schengen and what it means for Brits post Brexit
The Schengen Area currently consists of 26 states, including four which are not members of the European Union (EU). Two of the non-EU members – Iceland and Norway – are part of the Nordic Passport Union and are officially classified as ‘states associated with the Schengen activities of the EU’. Switzerland was allowed to participate in the same manner in 2008. Liechtenstein joined the Schengen Area on 19 December 2011. De facto, the Schengen Area also includes three European micro-states – Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City – that maintain open or semi-open borders with other Schengen member countries.
EU Member state with opt outs
One EU member state – Ireland – negotiated opt-outs from Schengen and continues to operate border controls with other EU member states, while at the same time being part of the Common Travel Area with the United Kingdom (a former EU member). The remaining four EU member states – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania – are obliged to eventually join the Schengen Area.
However, before fully implementing the Schengen rules, each state must have its preparedness assessed in four areas: air borders, visas, police cooperation, and personal data protection. This evaluation process involves a questionnaire. It also requires visits by EU experts to selected institutions and workplaces in the country under assessment.
From the 1st January 2021 the United Kindgom will sit outside of the Schengen area. All visitors carrying a British passport will need to comply with the 90/180 day rule. You must ensure that no visit is longer than 90 days and a revisit is not actioned within that 6 month period.
Second home owners
A number of HousesitMatch.com ‘homeowner’ members have second homes in Europe. These changes will likely affect their travel plans. This is where checked housesitters from the HouseSitMatch network can help. Housesitters step in to look after property and pets while the home owners are away.
How to comply with the EU 90/180 Rule
As a result of the EU 90/180 Rule there are a number of steps you need to need make as you plan your travel to comply with the EU 90/180 Rule. And naturally these may vary country to country, depending on how the UK has negotiated border control with each country. In general, however, these are the steps recommended by the British Government:
1. Is your passport travel ready?
You will have to ensure that your British passport has at least 6 months left to run. Any ‘extra’ time obtained by renewing the passport early may not count. See the checker tool here.
Paperwork that border officials may ask for from third-country nationals may include:
- a return ticket
- certificate of medical insurance for the trip
- proof of sufficient financial means to cover the duration
- booked accommodation e.g. hotel booking or if staying with a member of the public you need a certified letter or email to prove your plan.
Some of these papers may be waived for British passport holders for particular EU country visits. Nonetheless, please check well in advance of each visit.
What you need to get a new passport
Before you go online to renew your passport you will need the following details:
- when your passport was issued
- when your passport expires
- the date you plan to travel
2. Calculate key arrival and departure dates
Keeping track of the 90 / 180 day rule for trips to Europe in each 180 day period will become second nature. In the meantime, here is a DATE PLANNER AND VISA CHECKER to help you plan and manage arrival and departure dates.
3. Visa requirements
In conclusion, if your trip is longer than 90 days, you must check with the destination country Embassy or Visa office. Ensure you have complied with local visa requirements. Consequently, your passport must have more than 6 months to run from departure.