What is the Schengen Area?
The Schengen Area currently consists of 26 States, including four which are not members of the European Union. The full list of countries in the Schengen Area is:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
The visa concession will also apply to Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus.
The United Kingdom and Ireland, while both EU Member States, do not participate in the borders and visas aspects of the Schengen Agreement and continue to operate border controls with other EU Member States.
Even if I do not need a visa, are there any other requirements?
On arrival, you may be asked to confirm that you have sufficient funds available for the duration of your stay. You may also be asked to show a return or onward ticket.
We also recommend that you check the expiration date on your passport carefully before traveling to Europe. Entry into the Schengen Area requires that your passport be valid for at least three months beyond your intended date of departure. We recommend that your passport has at least six months of validity whenever you travel abroad to avoid unintended travel disruptions.
Is visa free access only for those holding a full British passport, or will it also be for those holding a BOTC, BOC, BPP or BS passport?
Citizens who hold either a full British passport or a BOTC, BOC, BPP or BS passport will have visa free access to the Schengen Area. However, it remains advisable to check the entry requirements of the country of destination before confirming travel plans.
Can I study and work in the Schengen Area without a visa?
The visa concession covers visits only. The maximum duration is 90 days in a period of 180 days. The visa concession does not cover employment or study - where the appropriate visa must be obtained prior to travelling.
Will the current BOTC, BOC, BPP or BS passport allow visa free access, or only the proposed new machine-readable one?
Both the current BOTC, BOC, BPP, and BS passport and the proposed new machine-readable passport will allow visa free access to the Schengen area.