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Gibraltar Planning to Join the EU’s Schengen Open Borders Area to Mitigate the Effect of Brexit

Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory, will cease to be a part of the EU as a result of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. This, in turn, will have significant effects for Gibraltar’s border control. According to the leader of the territory, Fabian Picardo, “Gibraltar does not have to be cut off from the rest of Europe as it did not make sense because it shares a border with Spain.”

ETIAS Visa and the United Kingdom

With the consideration to become a part of the full Schengen area, this would mean that travelers from the United Kingdom will need ETIAS visa to get across the border into the micro-state after Brexit. ETIAS, European Information Authorization System will be in full swing by 2021, and every non-EU visitor will have to fill out an application form and pay a small application fee to visit. ETIAS bears some similarities to the US ESTA system, which many British travelers already make use of to get into the United States of America.

In the words of Mr Picardo to the AFP news agency, he said: “We discussed Gibraltar joining the Schengen zone before Brexit, and if it happens, it will be a positive step.” He also asked if it makes any sense that EU citizens may not be able to access about 6.2 sq. km of the southernmost tip of Iberia. “Other European micro-states that are not part of the Schengen Information System all enjoy the benefit of common travel areas with Schengen. Schengen Information System.

“Movement between these micro-states and EU territories is fluid, and they will all be put on the table in the context of the negotiations.”

The votes for Gibraltar to remain in the EU had a margin of 96 percent but will have to leave the EU alongside the United Kingdom.

The Schengen Area

There are currently 26 European States in the Schengen area, and they have all abolished border controls with one another. The UK was never a Schengen country but always had passport control with EU countries. Most of the EU states are members as well as some non-EU states such as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Croatia have expressed their interests to join, and they are currently preparing their borders to satisfy the conditions of being Schengen states.

Passport controls are not the same as the free movement principle, as stated in EU membership. A citizen with a passport that allows free movement will have to tender their passport for checks when crossing the border, but for Schengen states, they will not have to.

The UK’s international passport-free areas include the Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland and the Chanel Islands.

There is border control between Spain and Gibraltar and the integrated economy between these two states means that a lot of people pass through them every day to work. Currently, UK travelers will need to get a passport before they can get into Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory.


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