British tourists could be prevented from entering the EU starting January 1

The Czech Ministry of Interior has updated Brexit guidelines, those without a residency permit or justified reason may not be allowed to enter the country.

Tom Lane

Written by Tom Lane
Published on 11.12.2020 10:01 (updated on 11.12.2020)

British tourists may not be allowed to travel into the Czech Republic from January under COVID restrictions, as the Brexit transition deadline runs out at the end of this year.

The UK would become a 'third country' under European Union guidelines which means they can only travel into member states for essential purposes – it won't impact British people with a residency permit, however, who should be fine to travel within COVID guidelines.

With the UK leaving the EU, they would no longer be exempt from travel restrictions, the Czech Ministry of the Interior updated their Brexit guidance yesterday and it features a section specifically on this point.

"Please be aware that due to the EU coordination on temporary travel restrictions from third countries to EU+, after 1 January 2021 UK citizens might be allowed to travel to the EU/Czech Republic only in justified cases. If, due to the unfavourable epidemiological situation, the UK is not listed as a safe country from epidemiological perspective, persons who do not hold a residence permit or do not fall into the exempt categories will not be able to travel to the Czech Republic at all."

Some countries are currently exempt from travel restrictions with the EU, due to their low COVID numbers. This includes countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, but the UK is unlikely to be added to that list.

There is one confirmed exception for British travelers, with Northern Irish residents allowed to move across to the Republic of Ireland. According to the Financial Times, Norway, a non-EU country, but part of the EU travel agreement, will also be restricting travel for British citizens who don't live there.

The UK recorded 20,964 more COVID-19 cases yesterday.

Travel consultant Paul Charles, from the PC Agency, told the BBC that he believes that "Individual countries who need UK tourism will be sensible and override any EU-bloc decision which prevents entry."

While a spokesperson for airline EasyJet gave a statement to the BBC, which said:

"There is no EU blanket law which requires individual states to limit entry from those arriving from outside the EU and so just as they do today, we expect individual European countries to continue to apply their own rules."