On 1 February 2019, the European Council said: “In accordance with EU rules, visa-free travel is granted on the condition of reciprocity. The UK government has said it has no intention of requiring a visa for EU citizens travelling to the UK for short stays. Electronic visas or electronic residence permits are not acceptable for air transit unless the airline is able to verify with the country of issue. Syrian nationals holding a U.S. B1/B2 visa are not exempt. The following persons can travel without a visa to the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man: If a visa national is permanently resident in the UK, they do not need a visa as long as they return to the UK within 2 years of their last departure. Visitors entering the UK, the Channel Islands and/or the Isle of Man and who are not eligible for any of the visa exemptions listed above must apply in advance for a visa through the UK Visa and Immigration Centre. Whether holders of travel documents for foreigners and refugees should be granted a direct transit visa (DATV) depends on their nationality of origin and eligibility for one of the above exceptions. Persons recognized as stateless under the 1954 United Nations Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons are not required to possess a DATV and can take flight without a visa. The UK government has hinted that it intends to end free movement in its current form after Brexit.
Instead, the UK Home Office has proposed that EU tourists should be able to travel to Britain and Northern Ireland in the near future with an ETA visa exemption. Until this launch, visitors from the EU will be able to visit with passports, as is currently the case. Citizens of all Member States of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who have a valid passport or identity card enjoy free movement rights within the territory of the other country and can enter and stay in the territory of the other country without a visa. All nationals wishing to cross the UK without a visa must: Swiss citizens will continue to enjoy a short trip to the UK from 1 January 2021.