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Schengen Drops Visa for OTs

British Overseas Territories Citizens may now travel visa free to 26 European countries, as of Monday, 9 June 2014.

This follows an amendment to European Union (EU) Regulation 539/2001 which lists all those countries whose nationals require visas to pass the external borders of Schengen states. The Schengen area is a group of countries—including four non-EU members -- which have abolished immigration controls between their internal borders.

These include: 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, and Switzerland. In addition the visa concession applies to Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus.

The change also applies to British Overseas citizens (BOCs), British Protected Persons (BPPs), and British Subjects (BS).

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. This applies to both current passports and the proposed new machine-readable passports.

Arriving passengers may be asked to confirm sufficient funds available for the duration of their stay and to show a return or onward ticket.

Officials emphasise that it remains advisable to check the entry requirements of the country of destination before confirming travel plans.

The visa concession covers visits only for a maximum duration of 90 days in a 180 day period. It does not cover employment or study – in which instances the appropriate visa must be obtained prior to travelling.

Travellers should note that 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 members.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks