The UK won’t be joining the likes of Russia, North Korea and Syria on the list of countries whose citizens require visas to travel to the European Union, it has been confirmed.
The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it will instead place the UK alongside the US, Australia and Brazil on the list of countries whose citizens do not need a visa.
It means UK citizens will not be required to seek permission for holidays or business trips of up to 90 days within a 180-day period – even if there’s a no-deal Brexit.
The commission warned though that this will only be the case if the UK government treats EU citizens in the same.
“The basic message here is: we’ll do upon you what you will do upon us,” said commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans.
“So just have visa free travel on both sides and that will make life easier for all our citizens.”
The deal will also apply to four non-EU countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. UK citizens will maintain their current right to free movement until the end of any transition period.
However, British travellers will face a number of other barriers if there’s a no-deal Brexit.
As Non-EU citizens, UK passport holders will soon face having to pay a £6 “travel authorisation fee” to enter the EU under a new commission scheme designed to improve border security.
Now the commission has published an advisory notice which predicts Brexit will have a “significant impact on the ease of travelling between the EU and the UK.”
If there’s a no-deal Brexit, travellers can expect to be quizzed by border guards about their trip.
“Persons travelling into the EU will be subject to additional verifications concerning, for instance, duration and purpose of stay,” the notice states.
It adds luggage could be checked to ensure limits on imported goods are being complied with.
The commission has also warned UK travellers to expect higher phone bills and healthcare costs, new bureaucratic difficulties in driving abroad or taking a pet on holidays, and a loss of rights to compensation for cancelled flights, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The latest details on what a no-deal scenario would look like were published after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier updated European commissioners on progress in talks.
“Very intensive negotiations are ongoing,” Timmermans told journalists in Strasbourg. “It’s clear that although we are making progress, we’re not there yet.”
The commission is intensifying its planning for a no-deal scenario although Timmermans stressed that was “just a form of decent housekeeping” and described a deal as “by far our preferred option.”
“The UK’s withdrawal will cause disruption whether or not there is a deal and we’re all under an obligation to do as little harm as possible,” he added.