Abta logo

Open: Mon - Fri 9am - 8pm
Sat 9am - 7pm
Sun 10am - 6pm

You can continue to book online 24/7

Enter your email to receive our latest ferry deals

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Do UK Citizens Need a Visa for Europe?

Passport & Visa
Passport & Visa. Picture credit: Canva

Are you a UK citizen planning a European adventure by ferry? Understanding visa requirements is essential for a smooth journey. Here’s a tailored guide for those travelling via ferries, ensuring you have all the information you need before setting sail.

Visa-Free Exploration for British Travellers

British passport holders, you're in luck! You can embark on a ferry to the Schengen Area without a visa for short stays up to 90 days. This convenience also applies to British Overseas Territories citizens (BOTCs), British Overseas citizens (BOCs), British Protected Persons (BPPs), and British Subjects (BS) since June 9, 2014. However, new procedures are expected from mid-2025, although no official announcement has been made with the full details.

Schengen Visa: Who Needs One?

Non-EU residents in the UK planning to explore Europe by ferry must consider the Schengen visa. Your UK residence permit should be valid for three months beyond your intended Schengen departure. If you're on a short-term UK visa, you must extend it by three months within the UK to be eligible for a Schengen visa application.

Essential Documents for Ferry Travellers

The Schengen visa application requires:

  • Current Passport: Issued in the last 10 years, with 2 blank pages, valid for 3 months post-Schengen departure.
  • UK Residence Evidence: Or an equivalent Identity Card.
  • Fully Filled Application Form: Signed by the applicant.
  • Recent Passport Photograph: With a clear background, taken within six months.
  • Travel Purpose Letter: Explaining your ferry trip to the Schengen area.
  • Travel Plan Proof: Including ferry bookings and a detailed itinerary.
  • Schengen Area Travel Insurance: Minimum coverage of €30,000 for medical emergencies and repatriation.
  • Accommodation Evidence: Like hotel bookings or group travel confirmation.
  • Financial Stability Proof: Demonstrating a minimum of £55 per day availability.

Additional documents vary based on employment status, with specifics for employed, self-employed, students, retirees, or those married to UK citizens.

Application Timing and Procedure

Ideally, apply at least 15 days before your trip but not earlier than 6 months. Schedule an appointment at the relevant Embassy or Consulate in London, directly or via agencies like VFS or BLS.

Processing Duration and Costs

Visa processing typically takes 15 days but may extend to 30. Fees are approximately £36.50 for children and £51 for adults.

Special Case: Non-EU Spouses of UK Nationals

Non-EU spouses of British nationals with UK permanent residence must obtain a Schengen visa for ferry travel to Europe.


Embarking on a European tour by ferry is an exciting prospect. With the right preparation and understanding of visa requirements, your maritime journey across Europe promises to be a memorable one. Bon voyage!

Information correct as at 28th December 2023

We are currently searching for the best routes and prices for you.