Europe will add a visitor fee for travel to the US next year

As Americans head to crowded airports for a revival of Europe’s summer holidays, it looks like next year will be more expensive for those traveling to the European Union.

According to the European Commission, a fee of €7 (equivalent to $7.42) for foreign visitors aged 18 to 70 is expected to come into effect in May 2023 as part of a new European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).

As part of the system, travelers must apply for a permit via the official website or app before traveling abroad.

ETIAS aims to increase EU revenue and create a central data repository for non-Europeans visiting the area.

“The border management authorities of EU member states currently have little information on visa-exempt travelers entering the EU,” said Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, which plays a key role in the new system will, in a statement.

“ETIAS will therefore be an important means to fill this information gap by supporting the security screening and risk assessment of travelers and strengthening the internal security of the Schengen area,” the agency added.

The European Commission said ETIAS will be a largely automated system used to identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors traveling to the Schengen states, which relate to 26 European countries , including France, Italy, Germany and Greece.

ETIAS will also facilitate border crossing for the vast majority of travelers who are not exposed to the above risks.

The European Commission said most travelers applying for an ETIAS authorization are approved within minutes. The estimated 5% of travelers who don’t do so could get the travel authorization in up to 30 days, the commission says.

Once granted, the permit is valid for three years or until the expiry date of a person’s travel document, e.g. B. a passport.

The permit will be checked by the border guards along with other travel documents.

PHOTO: Passengers navigate through security prior to their flight at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, June 28, 2022.

Passengers navigate through security prior to their flights at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta June 28, 2022.

Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

ETIAS was first proposed by the European Commission in 2016 and has since been negotiated as part of Commission legislation. The system is now scheduled to come into force by mid-2023, the commission said.

“Our police officers and border guards must have the right tools to do their job – protecting our citizens and our borders. ETIAS will pre-screen visa-free visitors for potential security issues, while the strengthened eu-LISA will allow us to further modernize EU-wide information systems for law enforcement and border management,” said Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union, following the Commission’s agreement on the Establishment of ETIAS in 2018.

ETIAS complements the already existing Schengen visa system, which did not require such approval from visitors from at least fifty countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The European Commission began discussing the new system after realizing that an estimated 30 million visitors came to the EU without needing a Schengen visa.

ETIAS has characteristics similar to the United States Electronic Travel Authorization System (ESTA) available to travelers from countries that have been granted a Visa Waiver Program.

In May, the fee for an ESTA increased from $14 to $21, according to US Customs and Border Protection.