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Brussels British Community Association

Commission Statement on Passport Stamping

14 Jan 2022 5:12 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

In a call with the European Commission before Christmas, the British in Europe group asked if the Commission could provide some sort of statement for UK citizens resident in the EU to help with traveling and passport stamping issues.


That statement is now available on the Commission website. The statement - Rules for UK nationals when entering or leaving the Schengen area - can be downloaded here. It is rather basic but may help UK citizens resident in the EU when faced with an intransigent border guard. It is recommended that UK citizens legally resident in an EU country should perhaps save the links on their mobile phones.

The statement does highlight that nothing in EU law prevents border guards from stamping the passport, however there is little practical use in stamping passports of Withdrawal Agreement beneficiaries.

BBCA and British in Europe are always interested in your experiences and any issues when entering or leaving the EU/ Schengen area. Keep us informed, so we can help ensure your rights are preserved.

The statement

The document states:

“EU law does not prevent border guards from stamping upon entry to and exit from the Schengen area of travel documents of United Kingdom nationals who are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement who are in possession of a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen Member State. The same applies to their family members in the same situation.

The Commission considers that there is little practical use in stamping passports of Withdrawal Agreement beneficiaries.

The reason is that stamping a passport serves to establish whether a non–EU national respected the authorised length of a short stay within the Schengen area, but beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement in a Schengen Member State cannot overstay. The usual limitation of a stay of 90 days in a 180 days’ period does not apply to them, irrespective of whether their passport has been stamped or not.

Beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement can use their residence documents issued under the Withdrawal Agreement at the border to prove their residence status and connected rights, such as not being subject to the maximum duration of stay of up to 90 days in a 180 days’ period.

The Commission recommends that all beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement to [sic] obtain the appropriate residence document under the Withdrawal Agreement in their Member State of residence and to [sic] proactively present it to border guards when crossing a Schengen external border.”

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