Holidaymakers in the dark over €7 charge to visit Europe

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

New charges on travellers to Europe set to cost British citizens €275m per year

Holidaymakers in the dark over €7 charge to visit Europe

Nine in 10 British holidaymakers are in the dark about a new EU scheme which will require them to pay €7 per person to visit most European countries.

A new report has warned few people know about the upcoming charges, which take effect from November 2023 and are expected to collectively cost British citizens €275m per year.

Yet 93pc of people in Britain have not heard of ETIAS – the European Travel Information and Authorization System – or were unsure about the details, insurer Direct Line said. 

ETIAS is scheduled to start in 12 months’ time for short-trips to the EU and closely resembles the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (Esta) that holidaymakers must use to enter America. 

The ETIAS system applies to all non-European travellers and each €7 visa-waiver permits the holder a 90-day stay. Once a traveller has been approved they will not have to apply for another visa-waiver for three years. 

In 2019 British people made over 66.9 million visits to the EU, according to the Office for National Statistics, which they were able to do for free showing only their passports. 

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But from next year holidaymakers travelling into the Schengen Area, which includes most European countries as well as Norway and Switzerland, will have to pay for entry. Ireland is not part of the Schengen Area, nor are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.

On top of the €7 fee, travellers will also have to upload some personal information including passport details as well as answering security questions and health questions concerning infectious diseases.

The ETIAS application is expected to take 10 minutes to complete but could take up two weeks to process if it requires manual assessment.

Tom Bishop of Direct Line said low awareness of the EU visa-waiver scheme was concerning and showed more education on the new rules was needed. 

“It seems sensible to use the remaining months until the new rules come into force to ensure people know about the visa-waiver, including how and when to apply,” he said. “This would be especially relevant for those travellers with limited online access who may not have access to finding this information as easily as others.”

Another system that could impact travellers when it becomes operational next year is the Entry/Exit System (EES) which will require non-European travellers to be fingerprinted and photographed at the border the first time they enter a European country.

The Port of Dover has previously warned this could multiply delays for families crossing the Channel for trips into France next year

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