It’s going to get more expensive and more complicated to visit the European Union (EU) next year. CNN reports: “The EU has announced the launch of its long-awaited visa waiver scheme, ETIAS, to debut in May 2023. While ETIAS is not the same as a visa — it is quicker, done online, and requires no biometric information — there is still a procedure and a cost to acquiring it, rather like the United States’ scheme, ESTA.”
ETIAS stands for The European Travel Information and Authorization System and according to the European Commission website, it “will be a largely automated IT system created to identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors travelling to the Schengen States, whilst at the same time facilitate crossing borders for the vast majority of travellers who do not pose such risks. Non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for a travel authorisation through the ETIAS system prior to their trip.”
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Applicants between the ages of 18 and 70 will apply via an official website and/or app and have to pay a fee of €7 ($7.35). “It’s not yet clear if others will have a reduced rate or will be able to apply for free. In comparison, the US charges $21 for an ESTA authorization.”
Now that the United Kingdom has left the EU, Brits will also have to pay the fee and complete the new visa-waiver system. As Examiner Live points out: “British tourists will no longer enjoy the same free travel to the EU that they used to.” And “Essentially, UK passport holders who are not nationals or residents of an EU, Schengen or EFTA country will need to pay for and pass an ETIAS check to travel to the Schengen area of mainland Europe, and other countries like Iceland and Norway. UK passport holders will not require an ETIAS to visit the Republic of Ireland.”
I don’t think $7 is going to deter anyone from going and it sounds like completing the ETIAS will be quick and easy but it’s one more thing to do and one more fee to pay. Will it deter you from traveling to the EU?
Frankly, I am happy about it. I have seen some deplorable behavior in Europe and if we (travelers who respect others) are lucky it might deter some from acting like fools if they know the EU has their information. The fee is nominal. So, I hope it helps!