THE foreign office is advising British citizens travelling through European Schengen area countries to make sure they have their passports stamped.
The 26 countries in the Schengen area allow free movement of people and covers most European Union states, except Ireland. The rules for British travellers changed when the UK left the EU on January 1, 2021. This means that they can only travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period if they do not have a visa.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is now issuing updated travel advice for visitors heading to any of the 26 countries in the Schengen zone. The advice recommends “checking your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area…as a visitor”.
It said: “Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit. You can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area, and ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets.”
Countries in the Schengen area include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Brits travelling to the Schengen countries of Europe next year will have to apply for a visa costing €7 when the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) comes into force. The ETIAS is often described as “Europe’s version of the US ESTA” (Electronic System Travel Authorisation) which costs $14 (just over £10) and lasts for two years.
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