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Petition Lobby to negotiate equal visa rights for U.K. citizens with property in EU area

Lobby the government to negotiate equal rights for U.K. citizens with properties in EU countries to those automatically awarded to EU citizens staying in the U.K., ie, 180 days in any 365 days. Not 2 x 90 day blocks as per current Schengen rules.

More details

At the moment the U.K. government has granted EU citizens the right to reside in the U.K. for up to 180 days without a visa. By Schengen rules (which now apply to U.K. citizens as a “third country”) U.K. residents are only permitted to stay in their property in an EU territory for 90 days (including travel days) then leave the Schengen area for another 90 days before they return. In my opinion this was an abdication of the U.K. government’s responsibility to its citizens. Many of whose invested heavily in EU properties & who are now denied the right to use them as they choose.

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Government responded

This response was given on 3 March 2021

Free movement of persons between the UK and EU has ended. The provisions on visa-free short-term visits reflect the UK and EU’s respective border and immigration rules.

Read the response in full

The Government appreciates the impact of the ending of free movement on British Citizens who previously travelled to the Schengen Area for long stays, including those who own properties in EU Member States. During negotiations the Government discussed mobility arrangements in a number of areas with the European Union, including arrangements for British Citizens travelling to the Schengen Area.

Regrettably, in these discussions the EU consistently maintained that British Citizens will be treated as third-country nationals under the Schengen Borders Code. This means that, as of 1 January 2021, British Citizens are able to travel visa-free for short stays, such as for tourism, for up to 90 days in a rolling 180-day period. This is the standard length of stay that the EU offers to nationals of eligible third countries, in line with existing EU legislation.

The Government continues to provide information about travelling to Europe on gov.uk. British Citizens who are planning to stay in the Schengen Area for longer than 90 days in a rolling 180-day period, including those who own property, will need permission from the relevant Member State(s). This may require applying for a visa and/or permit. British Citizens should discuss the specifics of their situation with relevant Member State authorities ahead of travel, and should be prepared to provide any extra documentation that may be needed to meet the necessary entry requirements.

Under the points-based immigration system, the UK treats EU and non-EU citizens equally. EU citizens are non-visa nationals for the purposes of short-term visits. As visitors EU citizens can, in most cases, stay for up to six months in the UK without applying for a visa. EU citizens need to apply for a visa if they want to work in the UK, or if they want to study in the UK for longer than six months. The UK’s offer to EU citizens is the same as our offer to the nationals of all other countries. Similarly, the EU has legislated to grant British Citizens the same visa-free travel permissions they offer as standard to all other third countries.

The provisions on visa-free short-term visits reflect the UK and EU’s respective border and immigration rules as set out above. They are existing, long-standing provisions that are applied to nationals of third countries. The UK keeps its visa system under regular review, and the new points-based immigration system has been developed in the national interest. The Government also keeps arrangements and advice for British Citizens travelling abroad under regular review. The Government does not typically enter into bilateral agreements on visa-free travel.

The UK’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU notes that both the UK and EU currently provide for visa-free travel for short-term visits for each other’s nationals in accordance with their respective laws. However, the detail of those arrangements is set by domestic law, reflecting the UK’s position as a non-Member State. Negotiations with the EU have concluded and the Government is focused on the smooth, robust and effective implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The ending of the free movement of persons between the UK and the EU is a consequence of the UK’s exit from the EU. The Government made clear that free movement of persons would end once the UK ceased to be a Member State of the EU, and left the EU single market. This fulfilled the Government’s commitment to the British public to take back control of our borders and introduce a single, global immigration system.

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

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