Europe Travel Visa Exemption Being Considered

November 12, 2012

The European Commission is considering exempting specific categories of British citizens from the visa obligation for the Schengen Area.

The Schengen Area comprises the territories of over 20 European countries, and operates like a single state for international travel with external border controls for those travelling in and out of the area, but with no internal border controls when travelling between Schengen countries.

The Schengen Area consists of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

A statement from Bermuda’s Government House said: “The European Commission has announced that it has proposed to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union that specific categories of British citizens currently under the (Schengen) visa obligation be exempted from this requirement in the future.

“This does not mean an immediate change for Bermudian British Overseas Territories Citizen passport holders as the proposal must still be approved by both the above bodies before it can be brought into effect.

“The UK Government has formally welcomed the Commission proposal to add to the Schengen visa exemption list those categories of British nationals who were excluded from the visa list in 2006 and look forward to the proposal being agreed by the European Parliament and the Council.”

The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union will make a final decision on the Commission’s visa exemption proposal. You can read more details here on the European Commission’s website.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Bda Traveler says:

    I traveled to 3 areas of the Schengen Area this year with a Bemudian passport with no visa and no issues. Looks like government are making false statements. Not only did I have no issues, these countries informed me that British Overseas territories are already exempt from Visa requirements… Bermuda specifically, became exempt when we were given the right to reside in the UK.

    • Dwayne says:

      What statement did the Bermuda Government make concerning this. In reading the article its states that the comment comes from the Bermuda Government House. When referring to Government House, I take it to mean it refers to His Excellency, the Governor,

    • Real Talk (original) says:

      Sounds like you were fortunate.
      Other travelers have experienced delays and/or refusal of entry because the BOTC passport does not automatically confer the same rights as the EU/UK passport holder enjoys.
      I experienced this issue a couple of years ago and managed to get my EU passport the day before traveling, saving myself a stop in NY to the Spanish Consulate to have the Schengen visa issued to me Bermuda passport.

  2. Your joking says:

    You can travel on a Bermuda passport only if it has Stamped right to abode in the UK… me had this problem in 2006…it is much easier to apply for a European Union passport which at the moment we all have rights to.

  3. Mad Dawg says:

    If you look at the press release, which is linked in the article, it applies to a lot of islands that have no connection with the UK. Dominica, the Grenadines, Kiribati, Micronesia, etc. They currently DO need visas to travel to these places.

    We don’t need visas because we have right of abode in the UK, etc. if we were independent, and without that right of abode, it would presumably be a different story.

  4. Real Time says:

    I go to School in Belgium and have issue with borders or anything even on the train going Amsterdam and France. This is another waste of time.

  5. Watching on says:

    I do believe Bermudian passport holders still need visas for certain European countries. Maybe someone can list which countries have accepted the bermuda passport and those that needed a visa.

  6. US Observer in Pink Sand says:

    A few years ago I tried to enter France from London UK via rail and I was denied. My European Union Passport with Bermuda listed as the overseas territory was in hand however they asked for my visa at the terminal gate which I did not have. My travel partners who had US Passports went on their way without me. Pays to have a blue passport huh? Got it…no problems now. Good luck!!

  7. Tommy Chong says:

    It seems that some Bermudians have been lucky & not stop despite having Bermudian/British Overseas territories passport instead of a UK passport as there is a difference. This is probably because both passports look similar & when swiped will scan the same but if the border officer took a closer look they would see the words British Overseas territories on it & send you back from where you came from.

    This Schengen Area visa has been in effect for many years now & if the laws were checked out on the Schengen Visa site it is clear that British Overseas territories passports require one. These visas are expensive & take a lengthy process to acquire IF the application is even accepted. It’s best to just get a proper UK passport.

    As Mad Dawg pointed out above if we went independent we would not have the UK passport choice & would be SOL if we wanted to travel to many areas in Europe. If we went independent it would take years & a lot of political pull to be put on this list of those countries that are excepted without a visa. BIG reason why we should NEVER go independent.

    • US Observer in Pink Sand says:

      Tommy…Great Point!!! This reason for not going independent should be one of the top reasons. You think Bermuda is out in the ocean all by itself now, think again.

  8. Jules - CMLOR Bermuda says:

    At least things are becoming a little simpler. I still think there is a lot of operationalisation to be done with regards to the Bermuda passport system…