[Tony Webster, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Europe Planning To Charge Americans For Visiting

If you are planning to travel to Europe anytime soon, it’s going to cost you a little more soon. Americans ages of 18 to 70 who enter Europe will soon be forced to pay a €7 fee. “The new fee is part of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which will be used to increase security at borders.

To put it plainly, there will be an extra step for travelers who enter the EU if they aren’t required to get a visa for entry. You’ll have to fill out a form through a mobile app or the website. Part of the application will require you to pay that fee of €7. According to the ETIAS fact sheet, it will take about 10 minutes for most applications to be approved. Some applications may take up to 30 days for approval, but that is predicted to be less than 5% of cases.

The application will require your passport or equivalent document information, the first EU country you intend to visit, and background questions, including information about any previous criminal record, presence in conflict zones, and any orders to leave a territory. Once the ETIAS is approved, it will be valid for three years or the validity of your travel document, according to Thrillist.

This move has been a long time coming.

Travel Pulse writes, “For several years now, we’ve been hearing about the imminent introduction of the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which, at last report, was slated to launch in May of this year. But, the program’s rollout has just been delayed for a fourth time, with an anticipated start date pushed back to sometime in 2024, according to CNN.

After being announced by the European Commission in 2016 and passed into legislation in 2018, the digital pre-travel program was originally intended to debut in early 2022, but pandemic complications saw it pushed back first to January 2023, then May 2023 and, now, an unspecified date in 2024.

Since its initial announcement, ETIAS has also been referred to as a visa waiver scheme and an added visitor fee, due to the €7 processing charge. Described most accurately, it’s a new pre-screening and entry authorization system, similar to the U.S. ESTA and Canadian eTA. It will apply only to passport holders from “third countries” (nations outside the European Union) that currently enjoy visa-free travel arrangements with the E.U. and broader passport-free Schengen area.

Starting sometime next year, an approved ETIAS entry waiver will be required from visa-free travelers entering the E.U. zone for the purposes of tourism, business or transit, authorizing entry and travel within the bloc for 90 days in any 180-day period, and will be good for three years. Travelers will pay a processing fee of €7 (currently $7.43).”

Europeans may just view this as tit for tat, however, and say that their fee is a great bargain compared to what the United States charges Europeans for visiting the United States. 

In May of last year, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced it was raising the fee for travelers intending to travel to the United States with an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) from $14 to $21.

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