schengen-area

FCDO: Check Passport Before Visiting the Schengen Area

With the effects of Covid on travel, it’s easy for consumers to be distracted from other travel requirements. From passport requirements, to visas, to other documentation, and the effects of Brexit, it’s important to keep these things in mind. With these things comes the recent FCDO advice for consumers to check passport stamps before visiting the Schengen area.

After Brexit was put into action on the 1st of January, 2021, there are a few travel changes that travellers need to keep in mind (you can find out more about travel since Brexit in our article). One of these small adjustments that the FCDO have advised on, is the need for appropriate passport stamps that UK visitors will need to travel to the Schengen zone in Europe.

The Schengen zone consists of 26 European countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Schengen is a borderless zone in Europe.

If a UK national is a resident of any Schengen zone country, then a passport stamp is not needed for entry, this exemption also applies to travellers that possess a visa to any of these countries.

However, if a holidaymaker is travelling within the 90-day period set out for visa-free travel, the FCDO have warned that the holidaymakers need to check before travel that they have passport stamps to allow entry.

This 90-day period means that visa-free travellers can visit any of these countries for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. If you intend to be in the country for longer than this, then a visa is necessary.

“Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area as a visitor,” the FCDO advice explained.

“Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.

“You can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area and ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport.”

The FCDO warned that travellers may also need to show the border officials a return or onward ticket for verification. They may also need to illustrate that they have enough money to stay in the Schengen zone. It’s also important to check any destination requirements for the specific country you’re travelling to, you can check these on the Foreign Travel Advice page.

This will change and possibly simplify in 2022 when the European Travel Information and Authorisation System will be put into action. This will require British visitors to apply for a visa to the Schengen zone costing around £6.

These small changes are an adjustment for UK travellers, but, as the changes of Covid have, are fairly simple additions to prepare for travel. Especially if you have a good travel agent to help you, checking you have the right passport stamps and documentation can be a simple and stress-free habit for travellers to implement while preparing for some awesome holidays in Europe.

So, if you’re looking forward to booking a fantastic, relaxing holiday, don’t forget to get in touch with a travel business registered with PTS, providing 100% financial protection. Or, if you’d like assistance choosing one of the lovely PTS members to book with, you can contact PTS directly at 0207 190 9988.

And if you’d like to learn more about your consumer protection with PTS, or how the Package Travel Regulations protect your holiday booking, check out our pages.