With the United Kingdom officially exiting the European Union on January 1st, 2021, the entire world will have to deal with its lasting implications. While economic, social, and political matters will see much change after Brexit comes into force, travel and tourism will also face significant changes after the transition period that will end this year, on December 31st.
When Brexit comes into effect, all British nationals will be non-Europeans and therefore treated as such in terms of restrictions of movement and entry requirements into the Schengen area. If no further agreements are reached, all British nationals will no longer enjoy unrestricted lengths of stay in the Schengen area but instead be limited to 90 days in every 180 day period, and, very important to note, with no need to hold a Schengen visa to enter.
When it comes to yachts and its crew in particular, Brexit will have an impact in terms of travel and immigration procedures, which will immediately come into force on January 1st, if no further agreements have been reached before.
1. If I am a British crew member already embarked on board a yacht in Schengen territory (ie: Spain) on January 1st, how long will I be able to remain in EU? What will I need to do?
All British crew members already embarked on a vessel in the Schengen area will be able to remain indefinitely within a 10km radius of the vessel’s location as long as they are officially embarked and employed onboard, and stamped out of Europe in their passports.
On the other hand, all British crew currently onboard a yacht in the Schengen zone and wishing to disembark after January 1st will be subject to disembarkation protocols, which means getting their passport stamped INTO Europe in order to disembark and travel within the EU or return to the UK.
To find out more about the exact immigration protocols to be followed from this date on if you are already embarked, we highly recommend you contact your local EVO office as procedures may change depending on your current port.
2. As a British seafarer, what will I need to do to embark a yacht that is already located in EU waters?
From 1st January 2021 British crew will be subject to official protocols in front of immigration authorities when embarking a yacht moored in the Schengen area, which means getting their passports stamped OUT of the Schengen zone once embarked in order to stop the days running on their passports while embarked.
As previously mentioned, exact protocols to be followed may vary in each port, therefore we highly advise to contact us for further information on a case-by-case basis.
3. Considering the COVID- related restrictions currently in force, under which circumstances will a British citizen be able to travel to Spain?
After Brexit comes into full effect on 1st January, United Kingdom will be considered a third country, and as such, COVID-related restrictions currently in force related to non-essential travelling may apply as the European Commission has confirmed that no exceptions will be made for the UK and the same rules will apply as to other third nations.
Please click here for full information about COVID-related travel restrictions.
**As of today, due to the high contagion rate increase, an exceptional Ministerial Order has been approved by the Spanish Government, which states that from December 22nd until January 5th, at least, flights departing from the UK towards Spain can only carry Spanish nationals, Andorran nationals or registered residents in Spain or Andorra.**
**EDIT 13/01/2021: Please note that on 1st January 2021 the Spanish Government published an update to the restrictions for using the direct travel corridor UK-SPAIN allowing an exception for seafarers traveling to embark vessels in Spanish waters, providing they show justification of their seafarer status and obligation to resume onboard duties. Nevertheless, we are finding that some groundstaff in the UK and airline companies are not recognizing this exemption and are recommending that seafarers in the UK delay travel or find alternative routes to the vessel.**
Contact your Evolution office for guidance and assistance or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.