Published on : Tuesday, August 8, 2017
The onerous post-Brexit travel rules are revealed in the draft legislation for dealing with “visa-exempt third country nationals”, which is what British travellers are likely to become after the UK leaves the EU.
With the new regulations , both the cost and the complexity of the trips to Europe to the Schengen Area will be increased. It will include 22 EU countries plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The Red tape for travellers will be more tangled, with UK passport holders forced to pay for an online permit even for a “booze cruise” to Calais, a weekend in Amsterdam or a Northern Lights trip to the Arctic.
According to the “European Travel Information and Authorisation System” (ETIAS), the proposed rules are in favour of identifying anyone who might be a threat to security of the nation or might be potent to illegal immigration or public health risk. The scheme aims to tackle terrorism and crime by obliging prospective visitors to anywhere in the Schengen Area to fill in a detailed online form.
The required information includes details of “his or her identity, travel document, residence information, contact details, education and current occupation”. The travellers would also need to disclose the details about their state of health, particularly any infectious diseases. They must supply details of any serious convictions, including for “racism and xenophobia”, and to explain any previous presence in war or conflict zones.
The travellers also have to provide the details of the address of the first night they will stay at.
Some British travellers will inevitably fall foul of a new requirement for a passport to be valid for at least three months. Currently, passports are valid for travel anywhere in the European Union up to and including the date of expiry.
ETIAS will not be mandatory for the first six months of the scheme. This is when the travellers will be eligible to travel only on one occasion.
Airlines, ferry firms, train operators and coach companies will be in the front line of enforcement, since they will be required to verify “that travellers are in possession of a valid travel authorisation”.
The Association of British Insurers said that travel insurance would not cover passengers who missed flights.