Thursday, June 13, 2024

Europe Will Roll Out an Entry Fee and Visa Requirement Next Year — How Much It Will Cost, How to Apply, and More

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Traveling to Europe is often as easy as simply booking a plane ticket but starting next year, a fee and a visa will be required to visit.

The European Commission will require travelers from dozens of visa-exempt countries — including the United States — to apply to the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (or ETIAS). The new fee is expected to go into effect next year for travelers who are 18 to 70 years old.

Here’s everything travelers need to know about ETIAS ahead of its implementation. 

When will ETIAS go into effect?

The ETIAS fee is expected to go into effect in 2024. 

The fee was initially supposed to be operational in 2021 but was first delayed until November 2023 and then delayed again to the start of 2024.

How much will it cost?

When it goes into effect, travelers will be required to pay €7 ($7.70). The authorization is then valid for three years or until the expiration date of someone’s travel document.

Where will it be required?

The ETIAS authorization will be required to enter 30 European countries, including popular vacation spots like France, Germany, Iceland, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands, and more.

Who will be required to pay the fee?

Travelers 18 to 70 years old will be required to pay. Family members of EU citizens are also exempt from paying.

How do you apply?

When it goes into effect, travelers will be able to apply through an official website or app before their trip. Travelers must apply as individuals (since the authorization is linked to each person’s travel document), but people can authorize others to submit an application for them.

Most applications will be processed within minutes. Others may take up to 96 hours. And some may require additional information or documentation or even an interview and may take up to 30 more days.

When the system is operational, the European Commission advises travelers to apply before they book a flight or hotel.

What information will be required for an application?

To apply, travelers will need to provide personal information like their name, address, passport details, and current occupation as well as any travel history to “conflict zones” or if they have any criminal convictions. Travelers will also need to detail their travel plans while in Europe.

Travelers will not be required to provide any information related to their health or vaccination status, or provide any biometric data like fingerprints.

What happens if you are denied?

Travelers may be denied an authorization for several reasons, including if they are “considered to pose a security, illegal immigration or high epidemic risk.” If someone is denied, they will be notified of the reason why. 

Travelers who are denied have the right to appeal that decision. Future applications will also not be automatically refused because of a previous denial.

What about visiting the United Kingdom?

The UK is no longer part of the European Union so ETIAS will not apply to traveling there. However, the UK is working to implement its own Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system in an effort to fully digitize its borders by 2025. That system, which will cost £10 ($12.83) per applicant, will require all non-visa foreign visitors, including those from the U.S., to apply online in advance of coming.

Does the U.S. have anything similar? 

Yes. In the U.S., visitors must also apply for a similar authorization before coming called the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (or ESTA), which is available to travelers from countries granted a Visa Waiver Program. Last year, the fee for ESTA increased from $14 to $21.

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