Question: I'm British and I have residency in Italy, but my daughter and her family live in France. I like to spend a good part of the year with them in France, but since Brexit will the 90-day rule apply to me?
This is just one of many questions The Local has received on this topic – from British (and other non-EU) citizens who are permanent residents of an EU country, asking whether the 90-day rule applies to them.
Brits who were already living in an EU country before December 31st 2020 are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, which gives them the right to stay in the countries where they live under many of the same terms as they enjoyed when they were EU citizens.
However, there are several things that the Withdrawal Agreement doesn't cover.
One of those is moving to a different EU country, which UK nationals will now require a visa for – full details on that HERE.
The other is how much time they can spend in other EU countries.
In this case non-EU residents of EU countries are covered by the 90-day rule, in the same way as visitors from the UK or the US are. So in other words there is no different rule for those Britons who are resident in the EU.
You can read full details of how the 90-day rule works HERE but broadly, people covered by it can spend 90-days out of every 180 in an EU or Schengen zone country other than their own without the need for a visa.
The 90-day total applies to the whole EU/Schengen zone, so if you live in France you cannot spend 85 days in Germany and then go straight to the Netherlands for two weeks to enjoy the Eurovision Song Contest, as that would exceed your 90-day limit.
The 90-day limit is also intended for visits only, so if you intend to do paid work while in another EU country then you may need a visa.
Several people have also quite rightly asked us how this could possibly be enforced, given that passports are not routinely checked when travelling within the Schengen zone?
For example, how could French authorities really enforce the 90-day rule on someone who has crossed over from Italy for a lengthy visit?
While it seems unlikely people would be caught they should be aware that while residents of EU countries won't be subject to the same passport checks and stamping as people entering the Bloc, that doesn't mean there are no passport checks.
Controls can still be carried out at Schengen borders if, for example, there is a security alert or border restrictions are tightened due to the pandemic.
You could also be asked to produce your passport while visiting an EU country at a police or security check.
One thing to consider is that if you are found to have spent too long in a country where you do not have residency status or a visa you can face some severe penalties.
You may be fined in the country where you are found to have breached the 90-day rule and even deported. Your passport could also be flagged as an over-stayer which can cause problems for future travel or residency/visa applications.
In a worst case scenario non-EU nationals who stay longer than 90-days without a residence permit or visa could end up with a re-entry ban to the Schengen area.