UK travellers planning to visit Europe on holiday will soon have to pay a new charge to enter.
The EU is introducing a new visa system for non-EU countries, meaning tourists visiting from the UK will need to pay a fee to enter the likes of Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Croatia and Portugal.
Travellers will be required to pay a fee for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which is an electronic permit designed to enhance security and enforce the borders of the Schengen zone.
It will replace the current system of stamping passports, with the new visa document to be scanned instead.
Which countries will require an ETIAS permit?
An ETIAS will be needed for by citizens of countries who can enter the EU zone visa-free, which includes 63 countries in total.
The European countries that will require a valid ETIAS upon arrival at their borders include:
- The Netherlands
Once completed, the visa will be valid for three years and will allow unlimited entries to the EU, although it will expire if you need to get a new passport.
When will the visa fee come into effect?
The ETIAS had originally been scheduled to become fully operational in May 2023, but it has since been delayed until late 2023.
The system is now scheduled to open from November 2023.
The application form should take around 10 minutes to complete online and must be completed at least 96 hours before departure.
The visa must be filled out by all travellers heading to the EU, except those younger than 18 and those older than 70.
Applicants will be asked for information about their identity, passport, education, job, recent travel and any criminal convictions.
Airlines will also be required to check the visa before allowing passengers to board the plane.
How much will it cost?
An ETIAS will cost €7 (£5) and successful applicants will be able to travel within the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days per 180-day period.
It will remain valid for three years and for multiple trips to Europe. People who apply during the transition period will be able to use the permit for the next three years, unless their passport expires.
How do I apply?
Travellers who meet the ETIAS requirements will be able to access the registration and apply for an ETIAS online.
To apply, foreign nationals must be from a visa-exempt country and be visiting Europe for tourism, business, or transit.