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What's the impact of Brexit on UK Superyacht crew?

Ok, so we’re the other side of Brexit. UK is no longer part of the EU. And UK crew working on superyachts and shoreside around the world have questions.  We hope the following helps answer a few of them:

An overview from 1st Jan 2021:

  • Unless you hold a VISA or residency for a specific EU country, UK citizens can only stay in the EU for tourist purposes or work for 90 days in a 180-day period.
  • UK citizens must (from the 1st January 2021) have their passport stamped in and out of each EU country, when visiting member EU countries.
  • UK citizens must hold a passport valid for up to 10 years, with at least 6 months before it expires.

If I entered the EU before 31st December, I didn’t get stamped in. How do I stamp out?

As a UK national, from outside the EU, you can no longer travel freely to and between EU countries without having your passport stamped to log your entry and departure.

If you have stamped in on the 1st Jan 2021, you have 90 days to stamp out/leave. So, your deadline? 31st March 2021.

Not all EU countries have confirmed their local regulations so please check with your local immigration office, but if you entered the EU prior to 31st December 2020 and you are planning on leaving the EU country, you now need to be stamped out (apart from Spain – I’ll come back to that later).

Please request a stamp via your local immigration office.

What do I need to stamp in/out?

You have to prove you’re a seafarer, either by showing an immigration official your seaman’s or discharge book. You can either do this directly with your local immigration office or through your local yacht agent, who will have regular contact with immigration.  You’ve basically got to prove you’re not a tourist.

How long does this take?

Expect delays, there are lots of requests coming in from the UK at the moment, so processing is taking time, especially with the added complications of COVID.

Typically, requests require 5 days’ notice (legal) but some are completed same day.

What happens with my insurance if I get stamped out, then end up staying?

Once stamped out, if you then choose to go beyond limitation of travel, please bear in mind, if you had an accident, your insurance won’t cover you, because you shouldn’t be there!

What happens if I overstay?

The recriminations of not getting stamped out and overstaying, differ from country to country. Each individual country determines penalty and risk. If you get an immediate fine, be warned it’s on the spot payment and it could be worse:

* France – up to 1 year prison, 3,750euro fine.

* Germany –up to 1 year prison, 30 euro per day fine for 1st month and then up to 3,000 euro fine

* Netherlands – you could be prevented from entering the country from between 1 and 20 years

* Greece – 500 euro minimum fine, 1,200 euro fine for between 30-90 day overstay, 1,500 euro fine for over 90 day overstay.

Whose jurisdiction am I under when I exit Schengen region?

When you disembark and travel home, it may not be Monaco for example, who controls your exit from Schengen.  It’s the last airport/port’s passport control you pass through, who controls your exit and therefore who dictates the fine.

Monaco follows Schengen rules, French admin, border control for boats in Monaco.

If you arrived before 31st December 2020 and you need to leave – get permission to go to airport so that you can be stamped out. If you arrived after 31st Dec 2020, you’ll already have an entry stamp in your passport, just get stamped out when you go.

If you leave after the 90-day deadline of 31st March 2021, make sure you sort the formalities before, stamped in when you disembark the boat to ensure you can travel overland to the airport. So, you’re not accused by authorities for having overstayed.

COVID restriction – it’s worth noting that currently in Monaco and France, authorities won’t stamp you in, without you showing a ticket to leave Schengen region. This is to prevent non-EU Schengen nationals spreading COVID in France.

If I arrived in Spain prior to 1st Jan 2021, do I need to be stamped out?

Here's the Spanish bit!

If you entered prior to Jan 1st 2021 and therefore haven’t obtained stamp of entry to Spain, Spanish authorities agree that your 90-day time-limit has not started. Your time is not ticking.

Both main Spanish yachting hub/immigration offices in Barcelona and Mallorca have confirmed that your 90-day period automatically commences if you have a stamp of entry after the 1st Jan 2021. So, if you’re a UK crew member currently onboard in Spain, you’re not considered as having overstaying after March 31st 2021.

On the 22nd Dec 2020, Spanish government toughened their travel restrictions due to COVID, banning direct flights from UK and UK citizens; excluding only Spanish citizens or legal residents. On Jan 1st 2021, they realised that was very tough restriction to impose, especially on seafarers and crew, so from that date confirmed that extension of restriction until Jan 19th to support crewmembers and professional seafarers.

Strong advice for seafarers continues - to have a negative PCR test before travelling.

We hope this helps but the overriding advice is to make contact with either your local yacht agent or immigration office, they’re best placed to give you the most up to date and correct information for your particular location.