British travelers heading to the European Union this summer could face delays of as long as three hours if the U.K. leaves the bloc without an agreement, the head of the European Tourism Association said, Travel Weekly reported.
Chief Executive Officer Tom Jenkins, referring to U.K. Home Office guidance on Dec. 19, told a London seminar that British nationals visiting Schengen area countries would be considered third-country citizens after Brexit day, March 29. This would add extra scrutiny at customs checks, such as six months validity for passports from the date of arrival.
“Such checks would increase immigration queues by 90 seconds per person,” Jenkins said. “At airports on the continent, we are looking at two or three hours of delay per aircraft from the U.K. Some airports will hit capacity after two or three U.K. arrivals.”
The ETOA chief executive also noted that 30,000 U.K. nationals depart from Dover every day and suggested it could produce “delays of one month on day one,” he said, according to the report.
With 64 days until the withdrawal date, the British Parliament is seeking an alternative to a no-deal withdrawal, which could harm the economy. Regarding EU citizens traveling to the U.K., “the government is committed to ensuring we have smooth border arrangements once we leave the EU and we will continue to manage our border in a way that protects the public and facilitates the passage of legitimate travelers,” a Home Office spokesperson said by email.
“EU citizens traveling on biometric passports will continue to be able to use the eGates as they do now and, from summer 2019, we intend to allow citizens from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, U.S., Singapore and South Korea to use them also.”
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