A petition has been initiated on the UK Parliament's website, garnering support from 23,718 individuals, urging the government to establish visa-free travel to Europe for holders of United Kingdom Residence Permits (BRPs).
The petition brings attention to the current restriction faced by non-European Union citizens holding BRP cards, who are unable to use their BRPs as valid travel documents when visiting European countries.
In response to the petition, the UK government addressed the issue on June 14, stating, "There are no plans to lobby the EU to remove the need for all non-EU/EEA citizens, including UK citizens, to carry a valid passport when visiting the Schengen area. This is not a visa issue."
Following the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU, citizens of both the UK and EU countries are subject to different entry rules. Presently, individuals from non-EU countries, including Britons, are required to possess a valid passport when entering Schengen Zone countries, even for visits lasting up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom's biometric residence permit serves as a secure immigration document, granting foreign nationals the ability to travel to the UK and prove their right to reside, work, or study in the country. However, the EU does not recognize the BRP as a valid travel document, rendering BRP holders ineligible to travel to EU countries using their residence permits.
"It is a matter for the EU and EU Member States to decide whether they are prepared to accept documents that are not valid passports in lieu of their normal entry requirements," emphasized the UK government.
To apply for a Schengen Visa, British citizens must possess a residence permit that is valid for at least three months beyond their intended departure from the Schengen Zone. Individuals residing or visiting the UK on a visa are not eligible to apply for a Schengen visa at Schengen embassies in the UK; they must instead apply at the embassy in their home country.
The challenges brought about by Brexit have had a significant impact on both the UK and the EU, affecting travel and work opportunities. Research conducted by the ABTA Travel Association revealed a notable decline of 69% in the number of Britons working in the EU travel industry since 2017.
In related news, it has been announced that starting from next year, EU citizens traveling to the UK will be required to obtain an electronic travel authorization (ETA) at an approximate cost of €12.
The petition's growing support reflects the concerns of a substantial number of individuals and highlights the need for continued discussions and potential resolutions to address these travel-related issues.
By fLEXI tEAM