Fact check: British citizens can stay in the EU for three months at a time

The UK’s former chief negotiator with the European Union has said that Monty Python star Eric Idle “can spend 6 months a year in the EU, not three.”

Lord Frost was attempting to correct a post on social media from Mr Idle which said “I can stay only three months in all of Europe.”


What Mr Idle said was accurate, British citizens can now spend at most three months at a time in the European Union without a visa.

But what Lord Frost said is also correct, Britons are allowed to spend two three-month periods in the EU over the course of a year.

The facts

British citizens who are travelling to the EU can stay for 90 days – around three months – or less in a 180-day period.

That 180-day period is rolling. This means that at the most in a year a Briton can spend two 90-day periods, or around six months, in the EU during a year.

These six months can also be broken down into smaller chunks, for instance four chunks of 45 days each. As long as the stays do not exceed 90 days within 180 days.

Mr Idle said that he could “stay only three months in all of Europe”. He did not say that was three months in a year, so is likely referring to the maximum three months in a row chunk he is allowed to stay there.

This means that while Lord Frost was correct in saying that Mr Idle can stay in the EU for six months in a year, he was wrong to attempt to correct Mr Idle.

Britons are also able to apply for visas for EU countries.


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