Europe Delays Entry Fee For Yet Another Year

europe entry free

The European Commission has delayed the start of its entry fee plans by yet another year. The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) was supposed to be operational in 2021 but it became delayed. The last announcement said that November 2023 would be the new start date for the scheme, but this has now been pushed back again to 2024.

The ETIAS fee is similar to the US ESTA, the system by which travellers from countries that are part of the American Visa Waiver Program have to apply for authorisation before entering the states. It costs around $21 for an ESTA.

The ETIAS will cost €7 (approx $11 AUD) and will apply to foreign visitors aged 18-70. Once applied and approved, the ETIAS is valid for three years and is required to enter all countries of the Schengen area. In addition to the ETIAS fee, 28 European countries are planning on rolling out a new Entry/Exit System (EES) next year, which could replace passport stamps with a high-tech process. The EES will rely on biometric data, such as face and fingerprint scans, and work with ETIAS data moving forward.

Europe is not the only one implementing an entry fee. The United Kingdom plans to bring forward a similar Electronic Travel Authorisation visa waiver, slated to launch later this year. All non-visa foreign visitors will need to apply for the ETA in advance of their trip. The visa waiver is part of the UK’s effort to fully digitize its borders by 2025.

Stay tuned for updates on when the ETIAS is actually coming into effect.

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