Following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU on the 31st December, 2020, UK yacht crew will now follow the same tried and tested rules that have always applied to non-EU yacht crew working onboard vessels within the EU.
This means that with effect from the 1st January, 2021 UK citizens can stay in the EU for ‘tourist’ purposes (unless official resident status has been obtained) for 90 days within any 180 day period.
Whilst UK citizens are not legally allowed to work in the EU unless they have a valid work visa, any work performed onboard a vessel is generally considered as ‘offshore work’ meaning that in most cases a work visa should not be required for crew entering the EU to work onboard a yacht, (note - certain EU flags such as France and Spain however do require crew working onboard their vessels to have a legal right to work in the EU i.e. holding an EU work visa).
In practical terms UK yacht crew will now have their passport ‘stamped in’ when they arrive in the EU which will start the clock on their 90-day limit within the EU zone (not just in that particular country). When they join a vessel they should then request, through the relevant local official channels, that their passport is ‘stamped out’ of the EU and once again ‘stamped in ‘when they leave the vessel, i.e. the period they are on a crew list working onboard the vessel does not count towards the 90-day limit.
As a caveat, whilst in theory immigration and travel rules should be implemented across Europe uniformly it can be the case that on a national or even local level that the authorities interpret and/or implement these rules in a different way and therefore we recommend checking in advance immigration requirement with local yacht or shipping agents.
Oceanskies, through Oceanskies Crew, is a leading provider of yacht crew employment and payroll services for yachts operating worldwide. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information regarding these services.