If the UK leaves the EU without any deal (the so-called "no-deal" or "Hard" Brexit) and it is not placed on the Annex II list of countries of the Schengen agreement, would UK citizens begin to formally require a Schengen visa to enter the rest of the EU? If so, are there any plans to add the UK to the list of visa-free Schengen countries outside of a formal deal with the EU?

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    Isn't the situation slightly more complicated than that? Annex I lists the countries which do need a visa, and regular nationals of the UK aren't on either list, nor fitting into the catch-all "Nationals of new third countries formerly part of countries on the lists in Annexes I and II shall be subject respectively to the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 unless and until the Council decides otherwise under the procedure laid down in the relevant provision of the Treaty."
    – origimbo
    Aug 27, 2018 at 21:30
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    @origimbo They would certainly be in a legal limbo and I'm wondering if some provisions are planned to alleviate that. Aug 27, 2018 at 21:48
  • The main issue is that if there is a chaotic no-deal crash out there won't be any new provisions in place, so the UK will become a 3rd country and it will take time to add it to any lists, if that is even what the EU wants to do.
    – user
    Aug 28, 2018 at 7:27
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    If there truly is "no deal", then there is no provisions for visa at all... Even Annex I is "a deal". Now we can assume that some no-brainer-deals will be made even if the UK crashes out completely, but ...
    – Guran
    Aug 28, 2018 at 8:09
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    If the UK isn't put on Annex II unless some sort of special UK specific deal is negotiated then a visa will be required for entry into the Schengen Area.
    – anon
    Aug 28, 2018 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


The EU is looking into its visa policy in light of the brexit vote. Whether or not this means UK citizens will need a visa post-brexit depends on the outcome of UK-EU negotiations. Politico has an article about this, some relevant quotes (I suggest reading the full article for more background):

The European Commission is making plans that could mean British citizens need a visa to enter the EU after Brexit, according to a document seen by POLITICO that was presented to MEPs.


Whether it comes into force, or an alternative that would exempt U.K. citizens from visa requirements, will depend on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. But Selmayr told MEPs that the legislative changes, in eight different policy areas, are needed for the EU27 to avoid disruption in the aftermath of the U.K. leaving the bloc.

When there is no deal

The UK government says the following about the no-deal scenario:

A ‘no deal’ scenario is one where the UK leaves the EU and becomes a third country at 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019 without a Withdrawal Agreement and framework for a future relationship in place between the UK and the EU.

In that case, it would be up to the EU to require a visa or not (probably by adopting some of the plans mentioned in the Politico article). The EU writes the following about its visa policy:

The EU aims at achieving full visa reciprocity with the non-EU countries whose nationals are exempt from the visa requirement. Thus, EU citizens would not need a visa either for travelling to these non-EU countries.

With that in mind, the EU is likely to require visas if EU citizens face the same requirement when travelling to the UK. In any other scenario (e.g. it's not clear what the UK's policy will be) it's pure speculation what the EU will do. The fact that the EU is creating different plans shows that they probably haven't decided themselves.

  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – JJJ
    Aug 28, 2018 at 11:01
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    "Whether or not this means UK citizens will need a visa post-brexit depends on the outcome of UK-EU negotiations": while this is true, the question specifically asks what happens in the event of a no-deal Brexit (so, for one specific outcome).
    – arboviral
    Aug 28, 2018 at 12:57
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    @arboviral you're right. I have expanded my answer a bit, though it's not a definitive answer as it's likely to depend on the negotiations (even if they don't lead to a deal) and the British position regarding EU citizens (because of reciprocity).
    – JJJ
    Aug 28, 2018 at 13:38

Technically speaking, we are British citizens not UK citizens, this may seem like pedantry, but it's actually relevant because of the complex nature of British and EU citizenship. British citizens who are not UK-nationals are already covered in the EU laws (see here) and require a visa or not depending on their status. In the absence of any deal this would continue unless the EU decided to change it.

But for the rest of us, the situation is undefined. Rather extraordinarily, the rules are drafted in a way that has both a complete list of countries that require a visa (Annex I) and a list of countries that don't (Annex II) rather than defaulting to the former status if not listed. The status of countries that are on neither list (as UK-national British citizens would be in the circumstances given) is undefined in the agreement.

I am unable to clearly determine what this undetermined status would mean, but my interpretation of the community code on visas leads me to believe that it would not be possible for UK-national British citizens to either get a Schengen visa or to travel within Schengen without a visa. I think it would then only be possible to get a territorially-limited visa for a particular country within Schengen since countries still have exceptional power to grant these.

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    That regulation is amended when needed. See this page for a 'change log'. I think it's unlikely they would leave the UK (or British citizens not currently covered in any category ;)) off either list after brexit.
    – JJJ
    Aug 28, 2018 at 14:04
  • @JJJ I agree, however, that is the premise of the question. I suppose it could happen if there is a last-minute failure to secure a deal in which case there could be a delay between Brexit-day and the EU agreeing and issuing an amended version. Aug 28, 2018 at 14:07
  • Last-minute problems seem unlikely. If there is no deal by, say November, then there is not enough time for a deal to be approved before the brexit date (because it requires approval from national parliaments). Since the amendments for this visa regulation are already drawn up (but not voted on) they could be enacted fast. Since it's a regulation (and not a directive), it doesn't need to be turned into national law by each member state.
    – JJJ
    Aug 28, 2018 at 14:15
  • @JJJ: yes, but they need to have a legal basis for the update. The last one was "Regulation (EU) 2017/850 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 amending Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (Ukraine)". So it doesn't just happen. Aug 28, 2018 at 23:35

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