On January 1, the 11-month Brexit transition period came to an end, with the UK leaving the EU.
Visa specialist, Jose Cruz, explains that this means that UK passport holders can now only spend a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period in most EU countries without a visa. The same 90-day visa-free rule applies for UK passport holders visiting Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Longer-stay visits now require travellers to apply for visas.
But different rules apply for UK passport holders visiting Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If they visit these countries, the time spent there does not count toward their 90-day total.
UK passport holders must now have six months left on their passports to enter the EU and they may no longer use EU fast-track lanes at various border control points.
EU passport holders can now only visit the UK for a maximum of 90 days per year without a visa. From October 2021, EU travellers will also not be able to use EU, EEA or Swiss national identity cards to enter the UK and must travel with a valid passport.
The Republic of Ireland is an exception. It allows UK passport holders to travel to and work in the country as they did before Brexit, while Irish citizens may continue to enter and live in the UK.
The current regulations are expected to be temporary. The BBC reports that in 2022 UK nationals are expected to have to pay for a visa-waiver scheme in order to visit many European countries.
Director of Visalogix, Diane Swartz, confirmed to Travel News that the visa application process for South African passport holders to travel to the UK and the EU remained unchanged by the Brexit transition.