Author: Craig Williams
As part of her plans to overhaul the UK’s immigration policy after Brexit , Theresa May has revealed that Britain will no longer subscribe to the EU’s ‘freedom of movement’ principle.
The Prime Minister confirmed on Tuesday that ‘freedom of movement’ – which allows EU citizens to live in, work in, reside in another EU country – will no longer apply in the UK following Brexit, which is due officially scheduled to take place on March 29 next year.
The UK Government’s new immigration policy will also see EU nationals ‘screened’ prior to entering the UK in the future, and the Prime Minister conceded that such arrangements were likely to have to be ‘reciprocal’, reports our sister title Glasgow Live .
This move could affect Scots who depart airports such as those in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen to countries such as Spain, Italy, France and Germany on their summer holidays.
At the moment, UK citizens are entitled to travel anywhere in the EU simply by presenting a valid passport, while a border guard at the airport has no requirement to ask the intention of your trip or onward destination.
However, with the UK leaving the EU, British travellers are likely to become ‘third country nationals’, with no automatic right of admission. This means that they will be required to complete a new online registration system, called ETIAS, prior to departing for the EU.
The ETIAS (short for the European Travel Information and Authorisation System) is expected to become operational in 2021, and will require that all non EU persons fill in an online questionnaire at least 96 hours before their scheduled departure hour.
The information will be compared against EU and relevant Interpol databases, and a decision made on whether or not to grant an ETIAS.
To complete the online application a biometric passport (with a validity of minimum 3 months from the date of arrival) is needed, alongside an email address and a debit or credit card to pay the fee.
Even with an ETIAS, this will not guarantee automatic admission to any European country. Possession of travel authorisation (ie a valid passport and an ETIAS) will not confer automatic right of entry, with border security in the destination country maintaining the right to further questioning regarding the passport holder’s background and travel plans.
An estimated 95% of ETIAS applicants will receive a response in a few minutes. And in cases where authorization is refused, the national authority will inform the applicant about the decision or ask for additional information within 96 hours.
Once the ETIAS is granted it will be valid for three years, or until your passport runs out, and can be used for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.
Airlines, ferry firms, train operators or coach companies will check that travellers have a valid ETIAS before departure. With all operators required to verify “that travellers are in possession of a valid travel authorisation”. Without a valid ETIAS, the traveller will not be able to board their transport to Europe.