EU Expands To Shorten UK Expat Stays

ProACT Sam Orgill previews EU Schengen Zone Expansion on the Eastern front in the year ahead and the restrictions this will bring to UK travellers.

UK expats post Brexit live in a changing world of EU considerations. Winter stays in a Mediterranean overseas property will shorten under new rules and restrictions to limit the period of any stay.
From March 2024 the EU Schengen zone is expanding on the eastern front and this is a way forward to allow Cyprus in complete EU country membership of the Schengen visa travel zone in 2024.


Some UK expats have a resident permit to live in an EU country like Cyprus.
The UK introduced electronic travel authorities (ETA) from November 2024 and the EU is adding their version from 2025. These are required for any holiday or travel short stay trips where the traveller entering that EU Country Cyprus don’t need a visa.
That iis visa free travel will require not just a passport but an electronic travel authority into 2025.


UK Expats using an ETA into the EU Cyprus will be able to deny entry or penalise over stays on exit.
EU short stay rules limit travellers to 90 days in 180 into the EU and Schengen zone – not just one EU country.
If you own an overseas property in the EU you will have this limited access to longer term stays unless you take action now to allow longer stays in the country of the property.


The EU and the EU Schengen Zone are the same but different.
The EU is a common trading market with EU citizenship offering individuals and business 4 freedoms to move capital, goods, services and people across borders of EU member states.
The EU Schengen Area is a borderless zone created separately that does not include all EU counties while it includes some non EU countries, for example Norway.
Norway Iceland and Liechtenstein are members of another European trade body the EEA which allows trade but not people to move freely.
Switzerland, to complicate matters further, is special, in the EU Schengen zone but not in the EU or EEA.
The UK is more special at the moment.
The ETA are introduced under the EU Schengen control and will enforce short stay rules.
UK Expats need to take action.


From March 2024 Romania and Bulgaria finally are being allowed to join the EU Schengen visa free area – but only for entry by air or sea.
By land passports or visas will still be required. Even for EU citizens (but maybe not for Russians)
This could be a template to allow Cyprus into the Schengen Zone before the introduction of EU Electronic Travel Authorities in 2025.
Concerns with Romania and Bulgaria remain with their eastern land borders, Ukraine , Moldova and Turkey.
A major issue for Cyprus and EU is the islands land border to the Turkish controlled north.
Hence the Romanian / Bulgarian fix could be applied for Cyprus in 2024.
The EU short-stay rules allow visa free travellers to visit the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without needing a visa. These rules apply to tourism, business trips, or family visits. However, travelers must adhere to the Schengen visa requirements and follow entry regulations during their stay.
For longer stays UK expats need to take action.


Britain was never a member of the Schengen Zone of borderless travel but British citizens did have the right to freedom of movement within the EU when the UK was a member. This ended when the country formally left the European Union (EU) at the end of 2020.
Ireland too is outside the Schengen Zone and has not applied to join.
Under UK Common Travel Area (CTA) laws first established in 1923 citizens of the British isles and Ireland have freedom of movement similar to the EU versions.
British and Irish citizens can freely move in and out of these countries without EU short stay rules and travel authority restrictions.


What does EU citizenship mean?
If you have EU Citizenship, then short stay travel restrictions and ETA do not apply.
If you have a passport for any EU country including Cyprus you are and have EU Citizens rights.
The luck of the Irish is to have freedom of movement under the UK CTA and EU Schengen Zone rules.
A UK expat with a short term visitors visa or resident permit have freedom of movement between the one EU / Cyprus country and the UK – but short stay rules are currently still applied to the rest of the EU.
A UK expat with a permanent residency had the equivalent (EU) citizens rights for that country, without a passport and voting rights of full citizens.
With EU citizens rights a UK Expat with permanent residence will not require electronic travel authorities ETA, or have short stay restrictions in any EU Schengen country under EU citizen rights of freedom of movement.


If you do own an overseas property in the EU / Cyprus this is a fixed taxed based asset in that country.
You could have a resident permit but not be an individual Tax resident in EU / Cyprus.
This is a post Brexit complication and opportunity for UK Expats.
Individual EU countries have discretion to issue UK overseas property owners with pre or post Brexit versions of Resident permits which could mean accelerated approval of permanent residence status.
If you are not tax resident you will need a Cyprus Will to administer overseas property on death.
If you are an EU Cyprus resident on death you need to settle your worldwide estate in Cyprus.

ProACT Know How

ProACT Know How to advise UK expats on residency , tax residency and to Make a Will and estate planning required to protect family and business when Living and Working Abroad

ProACT Sam Orgill
ProACT Partnership

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