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How might Brexit affect the visa free travel and status for British Passport holders?

The decision taken by the British People in the EU Referendum to formally leave the EU has ushered in a time of huge uncertainty. Not only for British citizens themselves but also for the 2.9 EU Nationals currently living in Britain and indeed for the 1.2 million UK nationals who live in neighbouring EU countries. This article will aim to cut through the conjecture, hysteria and in some cases lies to determine just what Brexit means for the power of the British passport.

The campaign was a ruthless and at times toxic affair with both sides accusing the other of lies, false accusations and promoting hysteria. The British Passport was used as a political football with estimates, guesstimates, and plain old wild predictions playing a part in creating widespread uncertainty about what Brexit truly means for the future of the British Passport.

As it stands (at the time of writing this article, August 2016) the post Brexit British passport looks and feels exactly like the pre Brexit British passport. Article 50 has not yet been invoked and new PM Theresa May is currently touring Europe in an attempt to gauge the atmosphere and feelings towards Brexit Britain before attempting to secure the best divorce deal.

This article has used a number of independent sources to further understand the power and quality of the British Passport. The Passport Index ranks all passports based on their 'total visa-free score'. Basically all the countries one can enter without a visa or with a visa on arrival. Germany and Sweden are currently ranked at #1 with the United Kingdom passport in 2nd place with a score of 157 countries.

The EU compromises 28 member states with freedom of movement available between all member states. In the wake of Brexit however it is yet unclear whether Britain will forfeit this freedom of movement agreement. Much is yet to be discussed but if the terms of Brexit do include the revoking of this agreement the British passport could fall as far as 23rd on the Passport Index, placing it joint with Barbados with a score of 130.

The Quality of Nationality Index looks at a range of factors to determine how valuable it is to be from a certain place. Pre Brexit Britain ranked in 11th place. The countries decision to leave the EU saw the post Brexit passport drop to 30th on the list. Freedom of movement and strong economic ties between its member states mean that all countries within the EU featured in the top 30.

Whilst the terms of any deal to leave the EU are yet unclear, one thing that is clear is that the uncertainty around Brexit has already ensured the British passport has lost some of its previous power. The lack of a clear plan for Brexit, both in time scale and terms and conditions of such a departure are already having a detrimental effect on how the British passport is perceived around the world.

Whether Britain looks to join with other Non-Eu European states by re-joining Efta or negotiate a deal where freedom of movement still exists only time will tell but as of the writing of this article (August 2016, 3 months after Brexit was confirmed) in answer to the title, it is fairly certain the power of the British passport has declined as a result of the EU Referendum.

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