New Etias visa waiver to affect Brits with second homes in EU

Published:  1 May at 6 PM
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Brits wanting to make a post-Brexit visit to their second homes in France or other EU member states may need to get permission and pay a fee, due to the EU’s new visa-waiver law being approved.

Unless an exemption is agreed between now and 2021, Britons with holiday homes in France, Spain and other popular EU member state destinations will need to comply with the rules of the new Etias visa-waiver scheme. Etias will apply to all non-EU citizens planning to visit countries within the Schengen Zone, including tourists and second-home owners.

Non-residents will have to fill in online forms including questions on personal details such as criminal records as well as the usual full name, passport number, place of birth etc. Permission must be obtained before leaving for your chosen European destination, and should take around four days at a cost of seven euros. Details on the form will be matched with Interpol and EU databases, and extra information may be requested.

Once permission is given, the duration allowed for a visit is 90 days in any one 180-day period, with overstays and extensions not permitted. Airlines, ferry companies and cross-border express train service providers must check to make certain passengers have the visa-waiver paperwork, and the scheme will be extended to all coach companies in 2024.

Etias is not expected to be a requirement for Britons permanently resident in EU member states who wish to return to the UK for short visits, as France and most other EU member states are signatories to the Schengen agreement. However, British expats should make sure they have a legal registration card showing permanent residence, as customs officers are likely to request this as proof of their Schengen status.
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