Portugal becomes first EU country to defy Brexit border rules as Brits fast-tracked

23 April 2022, 11:50 | Updated: 23 April 2022, 12:08

Portugal has become the first EU country to introduce the fast-tracking
Portugal has become the first EU country to introduce the fast-tracking. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

British holidaymakers are set to get fast-tracked entry into Portugal as it becomes the first EU country to defy border rules post-Brexit.

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The move means travellers from the UK will receive the same treatment as those visiting Portugal from other EU countries, with the Portuguese government opening its e-gates to Britons.

After Brexit, the UK became a 'third country' meaning passports had to be checked manually, increasing wait times.

However, at the World Travel and Tourism Council summit in the Philippines, it was revealed that the passport e-gate lanes for Brits had been set up at airports in Faro in the Algarve, Funchal in Madeira, Lisbon and Porto.

The special e-gates can also be used by travellers from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Japan.

It comes ahead of what is likely to be a busy summer as the travel industry bounces back from the Covid pandemic.

British travellers were Portugal's biggest overseas visitor market in January and February, booking nearly 484,000 overnight hotel stays over the two months, according to the Telegraph.

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Luis Araujo, the president of Turismo de Portugal, told the paper that opening the e-gates would "provide increased accessibility for our valued British travellers, as we head into the busy summer period".

He added: "We're delighted to have made travel to Portugal even more seamless for those able to make the most of the new e-gates." 

Paul Charles, the chief executive of the PC Agency, said that it could lead to a domino effect with other countries.

"It's a clever way of differentiating themselves from other countries who are not processing in the same way," he told the paper.

"I think you will see other EU countries follow this approach otherwise British travellers will face long delays going into France, Spain, Greece, Italy and other countries."