There is uncertainty whether or not UK nationals will require a visa to travel in the EU post-Brexit. This has been highlighted by the European Scrutiny Committee who have been examining the European Commission proposed overhaul of EU visa policy to reflect the new migration and security challenges confronting the EU.
Committee concerned over impact of policy overhaul
The UK Government says that the changes will have "no direct impact" on the UK as they concern parts of the Schengen rule book which do not apply to the UK. However, the Committee is worried that this may not be the case once the UK leaves the EU (and any transitional/implementation period extending the application of EU free movement rules has expired).
EU visa policy operates on the basis of reciprocity, meaning that if the UK were to introduce a requirement for the nationals of one or more EU Member States to obtain a visa to visit the UK post-exit, the EU would likely reciprocate by imposing a visa requirement on UK nationals travelling to the EU.
UK citizens may need visa to travel to the EU
As the Government does not intend to publish its Immigration White Paper setting out the future arrangements for immigration to the UK post-exit until the end of the year, the Committee cannot exclude the possibility that UK citizens may, in the future, require a visa to travel to the EU.
The Committee is therefore asking the Government what assessment it has made of the costs and benefits of a reciprocal visa regime for UK travellers to the EU and EU travellers to the UK post-exit. It also seeks an assurance that Parliament will be promptly informed of any options put forward by the Government in the future partnership negotiations which may affect the immigration status of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU 27.