24 Oct 2016, 17 mins ago

Home Secretary Amber Rudd appeared on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 11 September. During her interview she confirmed the possibility that advanced permission may be required in order for UK nationals to travel to Europe as part of a visa waiver scheme being considered by the European Commission.

There have been several speculations that as part of the European Commission’s draft legislation for proposed EU travel; the system will be based on the US visa waiver programme, the Esta Scheme. Under this American system, visitors from countries who do not require full visas are required to apply online ahead of travel for permission to travel at a cost of approximately $14 (£11).

This EU travel information and authorisation system (“Etias”) is set to be made public alongside the draft legislation later this year. Several media outlets have reported from sources that this travel scheme will be applied to all visitors to the EU, including the citizens of countries that do not need a visa to enter. As yet, European Commission officials have given no comment regarding the scheme.

Currently UK nationals are required to show a valid passport to enter Europe or the Schengen zone but are able to travel freely within it. Should the Etias scheme be implemented as a result of Brexit, it will mean UK nationals will require permission to visit Europe. “In theory UK citizens, as third-country nationals, would certainly be subject to the obligations of such a scheme”, said Camino Mortera-Martinez, a research fellow specialising in justice and home affairs at the Centre for European Reform.

Home Secretary Rudd’s comments on this issue during her Sunday morning interview have provided re-assurance to Britons that this is all simply part of the process of Brexit and everything is still being negotiated. Rudd also added: “My reaction to that is it’s a reminder that this is a two-way negotiation. The EU and the commissioners may be considering issues, alternatives. They will be considering their negotiations with us, just as we are with them. But I’m going to make sure that what we do get is in the best interests of the UK.”