Europe's New Entrance Fee Won't Go Into Effect Until 2025 Now
There will soon be a bit more paperwork and an additional cost to visit EU nations.
Soon there will be another little cost to figure into your future European vacation plans, and you'll want to start incorporating it into your future travel planning.
Initially, Europe announced that starting May 2021 (and then delayed until November 2023) Americans between the ages of 18 to 70 entering Europe would have to pay a €7 fee, which comes to about $7.45 as of this writing. The new fee is part of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which will be used to increase security at borders.
Earlier this July, an update on the new visa requirement claimed that the application for visas will open in 2024. Now, however, the date changed again.
While the answer to a recent FAQ on the Commission's ETIAS website reads that "it is expected that the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will be operational in 2024," that has just recently been called into question. An EU official confirmed to SchengenVisaInfo.com that the rollout date of ETIAS has now been delayed to May 2025 "with the possibility of further postponement." The reason, according to the official, is of "unforeseen delays."
Once the fee goes into effect, applying for it won't be hard, and it will be similar to the ESTA process that non-US travelers go through when visiting the United States.
"Non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for a travel authorization through the ETIAS system prior to their trip," the July update posted to the European Commission website states. "The information gathered via ETIAS will allow, in full respect of fundamental rights and data protection principles, for advance verification of potential security, irregular migration of high epidemic risks."
To put it plainly, once the ETIAS goes into effect, 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 timeline is predicted to apply to less than 5% of cases.
The application will require your passport or equivalent document information, the identification of 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. After submitting the application, you'll get an email confirmation with a reference number. Once the ETIAS is approved, it will be valid for three years or the validity of your travel document.
It now appears that this won't go into effect until 2025 at the earliest, but if you've already got travel plans to Europe that far ahead, you should definitely add this to your pre-trip checklist (along with making sure your passport is good to go well in advance of your vacation, of course). According to the Washington Post, the application will need to be submitted at least 30 days ahead of travel.
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