Following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union there are now a number of new rules in place affecting the ability of British riders and teams to travel to the EU, live or work in the EU or transport equipment.
British Cycling is engaging with various stakeholders – including DCMS, Dave Rayner Fund, and The Cyclists’ Alliance – so that we can best assist and represent our members, supporting their own development and the nation's continued success on the world stage.
In the interim, through this FAQs page we have sought to answer as many questions as we can based on what we know at this stage. Please note that as negotiations between the UK Government and the European Union are ongoing, all information and rules detailed below are subject to change and will be updated as and when it is possible to do so.
British Cycling is unable to provide any warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of the content on this page at the time of publication. British Cycling assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the text on this page.
Further information can be found on the Gov.uk website here, and we recommend that you make every effort to familiarise yourself with his. If you have any further questions, please email email@example.com and we will do our best to assist.
The information has been split into the following sections:
- The basics
- Travelling into the EU
- Staying in the EU
- Racing in the EU
- Riding for a team based in the EU
1. The basics
What is the Schengen Area?
The Schengen Area is a zone made up of 26 European countries that abolished all passport and other types of border control at their mutual borders, enabling passport-free travel. The following countries are party to this agreement:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland*, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway*, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland*.
Is my EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)/GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) affected?
If you're a UK national living in the UK and travelling to the EU, EHIC and the new GHIC cards entitle the holder to the same medical treatment as a local citizen at state-run hospitals and GPs in any EU country (see more info here). EHIC and GHIC cards are not a substitute for travel insurance, so always ensure that you have both. For example, if treatment isn't free or a state hospital isn't available, travel insurance should cover the associated costs.
Do I need a new passport?
No, your current passport will remain valid until its expiry date. However, you need to have at least six months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). Find out more here.
2. Travelling into the EU
Do I need a Green Card?
From January 1st 2021, UK nationals will need a Green Card to drive their car in Europe, which proves that the car is insured. You should get this directly from your insurer and request it six weeks prior to the date of travel. Separate Green Cards are required for trailers and caravans.
If you are driving your own car in the EU you must carry the V5C log book with you and have a GB sticker on your vehicle. In addition to this, some European countries will require you to hold an International Driving Permit. You can find out this information by contacting the embassy of the country you are travelling to.
What is the status of the equipment I may be required to take with me?
Most countries have a limit on the value of goods that can be imported, known as a 'duty free allowance'. If the value of your goods exceeds this allowance, you can apply for an ATA Carnet or use a Duplicate List to avoid paying duty. Requirements for each country vary so please always check with the country you're travelling to if you're unsure of what is needed.
Carnets cannot be amended but split shipments are possible if the certificates are properly marked. This would suggest that all equipment that you intend on taking abroad should be listed on the Carnet you initially apply for. You may also apply for additional certificates, for example if you take more trips than originally planned, which would save having to pay the fee multiple times. More information on how to use an ATA Carnet can be found here.
The process for a Duplicate List is free but involves filling in additional documentation for HMRC.
3. Staying in the EU
How long can I stay in the Schengen Area?
The EU and UK are mutually committed to short-term visa-free travel for tourism and limited business purposes. UK nationals can travel for 90 days within a 180-day period to the Schengen Area for tourism and limited business reasons – including participation in a sports event.
The permitted 90 days start from the first day of travel and is determined by looking back over the previous 180-day period, and calculating the days spent in the Schengen Area. You can use the EU Period of Stay Calculator if you need help calculating how many days you have stayed in the Schengen Area and how many days you have left.
Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus are not part of the Schengen Area and therefore fall outside of the 90-day limit. This means that you can stay in one of these countries for 90 days then travel into the Schengen Area for a further 90 days.
What will happens if I overstay my 90/180 day tourist visa allowance?
In the event that you remain in the EU for more than 90 days in 180, this will be picked up by border officials upon your departure. The sanction for overstaying varies across countries, but could include a fine, immediate deportation or even being banned from entering the Schengen Zone for a period of time. The sanction may depend on the number of days you have overstayed. Find out more about the different sanctions here.
If you are caught engaging in paid activity while overstaying your visa, you may be taken to court and face a prison sentence if found guilty.
I was living in the EU before Brexit. How am I affected?
If you were living in an EU country before 1st January 2021, your rights are protected by the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. Read the "Living in" guide for the country you live in to find out what you need to do to secure your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. If you are able to settle in an EU country, your rights to travel around the Schengen Area should be the same as for any EU national but we recommend that you check the conditions of your visa or permit to be sure of this.
4. Racing in the EU
What is the situation regarding tax if I win prize money while racing in the EU?
It is anticipated that there will be no change to the treatment of prize money or taxation of visiting sportspersons or creative performers in either direction. If you have any tax-related concerns you should contact HMRC directly.
5. Riding for a team based in the EU
What about if I am going to be employed by a team based in the EU?
You’ll need a work permit to work in most EU countries if you’re a UK citizen. In most cases, you’ll need a job offer from your proposed employer so that you can get a visa to move there. There is also a possibility of applying for a Frontier Visa which allows you to live in one country and work in another.
Visa requirements vary in each country so please check with the UK-based embassy of the country you want to work in for the criteria for obtaining a visa. More information on working in the EU can be found here.
What is the situation regarding tax if I earn a salary from a team based in the EU?
How or where you pay tax will depend on your 'residency status' in the country that you'll be working in, for example if you'll be a temporary or permanent resident. It is anticipated that there will be no change to the treatment of taxation of visiting sportspersons or creative performers in either direction. This page provides further information on tax if you leave the UK to live abroad. If you have any tax-related concerns you should contact HMRC directly.
Is there a specific sportsperson visa for UK athletes who don’t qualify for a work permit?
Not at present. While there is a ‘Sportsperson visa (T2)’ which enables overseas athletes who meet certain criteria to stay in the UK for up to three years (potentially six if successfully extended), no equivalent arrangement currently exists for UK-based riders to stay in the EU. British Cycling is working with various stakeholders to assist its members with this issue. Further information about this work will be provided when available.
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