British holidaymakers will have to pay €7 to enter Europe under EU plans

·3-min read
Fuengirola in Spain. Visitors from 60 countries will be allowed to apply for the ETIAS - GETTY IMAGES
Fuengirola in Spain. Visitors from 60 countries will be allowed to apply for the ETIAS - GETTY IMAGES

British holidaymakers to Europe will be forced to pay €7 in order to be allowed in under plans from Brussels.

The European Union is progressing with plans to pre-screen travellers entering the border-free Schengen area in order to prevent the need for visas.

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will work in a similar fashion to the US Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) which permits citizens from 39 countries a 90-day visa-free stay.

On Tuesday the regulations for the system were confirmed.

The ETIAS plan was originally mooted in 2016, before the UK left the EU. Once implemented it will cost visitors around £6.20 to undergo the checks.

Those granted entry through the ETIAS would be allowed to enter and leave the Schengen area multiple times over a three-year period.

The scheme is expected to cover 60 countries, including the UK, Australia and the US.

Tuesday’s approval means the plan is on track to be implemented by the end of 2022.

“ETIAS will not change which non-EU countries are subject to a visa requirement and will also not introduce a new visa requirement for nationals of countries that are visa-exempt,” says the proposal.

“Visa-exempt non-EU nationals will only need a few minutes to fill in an online application which in a vast majority of cases (expected to be over 95 per cent) will result in automatic approval.”

The checks would allow visitors to enter and leave the Schengen area multiple times over a three-year period - PA
The checks would allow visitors to enter and leave the Schengen area multiple times over a three-year period - PA

The UK’s last ever EU Commissioner was a leading player in the original proposal for the ETIAS scheme.

The EU will use the information given by arrivals as part of security checks against its existing migration, police and security databases.

When the system was put forward in 2016, Sir Julian King said: "Terrorists and criminals don't care much for national borders. The only way to defeat them is by working together effectively. ETIAS will help do that: by spotting problem individuals and stopping them from coming, we'll enhance Europe's internal security."

The UK government is also considering a similar visa waiver system for non-British nationals to enter on pre-screening.

The earliest expectation for the British version to come into force is 2024.

It will require applicants to submit answers to a series of security and health questions and could see Britons forced to declare their vaccination status.

According to the proposal from the European Commission passengers will be required to reveal “whether they are subject to any disease with epidemic potential….or other infectious or contagious parasitic disease” as defined by the World Health Organisation, indicating that they will be required to prove Covid immunity upon arrival.

What do you think about being pre-screened to prevent the need for visas? Which would you prefer? Tell us in the comments section below.
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