The European Parliament has approved a proposal to establish a system whereby visitors from countries outside the EU will be required to pay a fee to enter the Schengen Zone.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) was proposed as a means of ‘addressing security concerns’.
Under the new rules, visitors from 62 non-EU countries with access to visa-free travel will be required to apply for authorisation to enter the Schengen Zone. The online application will come with a €7 ‘authorisation fee’ and will automatically be referenced against existing EU and Interpol databases to determine whether there is any cause to deny the traveller entry.
Air and sea carriers, and eventually coach and ground transport providers operating between countries, will then need to check whether passengers have the correct authorisation to enter the EU.
Authorisation will be valid for three years or until the end of the validity of the passport or travel document used to file the application, whichever comes first.
The system is similar to the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) employed by the US.
Since the system is not due to come into effect until January 2020, it is likely that British travellers will be required to obtain an ETIAS to enter EU countries. However, it is still unclear how travel between the UK and Europe will look after March 2019, so it can only be speculated that the fee will apply to Brits.
If the UK falls subject to the new system, it means British businesses will have to ensure each employee has an ETIAS before sending them to EU countries, meaning travel costs will increase.
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