British citizens may need a visa to travel in mainland Europe after the country formally leaves the European Union.
It’s been reported that the 26-nation Schengen Zone, where a visa is not required to travel through the member countries, is looking at how to deal with the UK post-Brexit.
The European Commission is understood to be looking at draft legislation which was provoked by terror attacks in France and Belgium, and will reportedly include new travel authorisation regulations with the zone.
It’s possible that UK citizens will have to pay for a visa if they wish to travel to continental Europe. It will be impossible for the UK to enjoy free travel to Europe without allowing a reciprocal freedom of movement for EU citizens.
Professor of EU law at the University of Essex, Steve Peers, told the Guardian that there could be an electronic visa waiver scheme set up, allowing Britons to travel freely to countries such as France and Spain.
He said: “It’s going to annoy a lot of people. We can ask for full free movement, but any arrangement is going to have to be reciprocal, so you have to ask what Nigel Farage and the others will accept. We have no idea what the rules will be.”
He said that the UK would have to negotiate free movement deals similar to those that Norway and Switzerland have with the EU if British citizens are still to be fast-tracked through EU airports after Brexit.
In 2015, British citizens made more than 30 million trips to EU countries. The most popular destinations were Spain, with 13 million visits, followed by France with 8.8 million visits, Office for National Statistics figures showed.