We are receiving a number of enquires from businesses about frequent short visits to Europe to conduct business or EU colleagues visiting the UK for the same purpose. Thus far we can provide the following information.
With both the UK and EU committing to citizens’ rights of those EU nationals already settled in the UK and UK nationals settled in the 27 EU Member States the Withdrawal Agreement sets out that British Nationals will not require visas to travel for short stays to the 22 EU member counties that are members of the Schengen area and four Schengen- associated states. It will also apply to Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus. Short stays have been defined as up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This is likely to include travellers for the purpose of business visits, leisure and family visits but not for work.
There is at this stage uncertainty as to whether British travellers will need to apply for electronic travel authorisation (Etias – the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System) which is modelled on the US ESTA and is being introduced by the EU for security grounds for all countries outside the bloc, even if they are visa-exempt. However, what is clear is that the European Health Insurance Card will no longer give British citizens rights to reciprocal healthcare meaning that arrangements should be made for travel insurance.
The UK Government has also declared its intention of EU 27 Member State Citizens not requiring visas for short stay visits (likely to be 6 months as is the case currently with non-EU Nationals) for the purposes of leisure and business.
The European Commission has also said that that this may also be the position i.e. that British Nationals will not require visas for visits in the event of a no-deal.
Areas that we still require clarification include the position of non-EU colleagues that are employed in a multi-national company either in the UK or in a sister company in Europe being transferred for a period of time to work for the same Group. Currently this possible under the Vander Elst visa but this right to travel currently derives from EU law.