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Travelling to Europe after Brexit: How will your holiday be affected?

By April 4, 2019January 26th, 2023FinGlobal

Travelling to Europe after Brexit: How will your holiday be affected?

April 4, 2019

Many South Africans are watching the UK’s Brexit negotiations with some trepidation, wondering how it will affect their travel plans to Europe or even possible plans to immigrate to the UK. This article looks at what Brexit means to South Africans in general – whether they are staying, travelling abroad or emigrating.

Hard or soft Brexit?

For South Africans, the debate as to whether the UK leaves the EU with a hard Brexit (one with no deal in place), or a softer Brexit (one with a deal in place) is relatively immaterial to South African travel plans. If South Africans want to travel on holiday to the UK or Europe, they will still have to apply for the relevant travel visas. For South Africans travelling to the UK on holiday, this is usually the Standard Visitor Visa and will not be affected by Brexit.



South Africans can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if they want to visit the UK:

  • For leisure, to see their family or travel through the country
  • For business, or to take part in sports or creative events
  • for another reason, for example, to receive private medical treatment


South Africans travelling to Europe

South Africans travelling to Europe on South African passports have always had to apply for visas, depending on which countries they are travelling to. The main visa that most South Africans apply for when travelling to Europe is the Schengen Visa, which covers 26 European countries. The only South African passport holders that are exempt from applying for a Schengen Visa are those that hold dual citizenship – South Africa and one of the Schengen member states. These people have to travel on their European passport to avoid applying for a Schengen Visa.



If you are a UK passport holder and a South African passport holder, a question mark does arise post-Brexit. Currently, UK passport holders enjoy visa-free travel within Europe. A recent article in the Telegraph reports that the UK passport office is warning UK travellers that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK passport holders will need to have at least six months left on their passports in order to enter most countries. So if you are a South African who is planning on travelling to Europe on your UK passport, it’s important to be aware of this new rule.


The article goes on to refer to the fact the deal or no-deal, UK passport holders will still be required to apply for a travel permit to enter the EU as from 2021!


Brexit could make it easier to immigrate to the UK

For South Africans planning on making a more permanent move abroad, the good news is that the UK is facing a shortage of skills. The looming issue of Brexit has meant that fewer EU citizens are moving to the UK, which means that the UK Government is increasingly looking to attract skilled and highly skilled workers into the country to fill its growing labour gaps. This is good news for South Africans planning to move further afield and explore their opportunities abroad.


While FinGlobal is unable to assist you with arranging any visas, if you are planning on leaving South Africa to live abroad and would like to know more about how you can maximise your finances through the process of financial emigration from South Africa, accessing your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South Africans around the world, contact us today.

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