Recent changes to the European Union’s visa policy will allow travelers from a few countries outside of Europe to enter without paying an entry fee. This has angered many who argue that it discriminates against those with less financial means.

The “etias” is a new entry fee that will be applied to travelers from visa-free countries. It is an effort by the European Union to control the influx of people coming into Europe.

Europe To Apply New Entry Fee to Travelers From Visa-Free Countries

After two years of shifting COVID-related entry procedures and border restrictions, U.S. tourists wishing to visit Europe may face some new criteria by this time next year—all of which are unrelated to the epidemic.

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will require obligatory registration for international travellers by next spring, and foreign tourists will be charged a fee of €7 (about $7.40) to visit most European nations.

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Although the price has been dubbed a “visitor tax,” it is essentially an application fee for tourists seeking an ETIAS permission, which is required to enter any of the 26 EU and Schengen countries for stays of up to 90 days. The declared goal of the required registration, pre-screening, and related costs is to improve border security in the area.

The ETIAS system only applies to visitors coming from one of the 62 countries that now have visa-free entry to the European Union and Schengen member states, including the United States. Those who require a visa to travel won’t have to bother about submitting an application via ETIAS.

It’s comparable to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) automated system run by the US Department of Homeland Security, which decides whether non-nationals traveling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are eligible to enter the US.

ETIAS will also utilize technology to register, pre-screen, and monitor foreign visitors, with software comparing their profiles to government watchlists and databases before providing entry authorizations. This is meant to provide an extra layer of defense against risks such as crime, terrorism, and “irregular migration.” The information gathered from visitors will be used for data tracking for commercial and tourist reasons.

 

According to The Points Guy, when ETIAS was initially announced in 2016, Jean-Claude Juncker, who was President of the European Commission at the time, said, “We need to know who is entering our borders.” This way, we’ll know who’s coming to Europe even before they arrive.”

While this new pre-travel authorisation system has been in the works for years, ETIAS currently intends to be fully operational by May 2023, despite some setbacks.

Travelers who do not need a visa will be asked to register their details and answer a few background questions on the ETIAS web site, then wait for approval before leaving for their destination. Travel clearance should take no more than a few minutes for most candidates. However, if an applicant’s registration is detected, it must be evaluated manually. If one’s application is refused, there is also an appeals procedure.

Airlines and other transportation providers will be obliged to check passengers’ ETIAS authorisation status before allowing them to board once the system is up and operating. Visa-free travelers seeking admission at land crossings will also be able to complete their application at an electronic kiosk.

Visit etias.com for additional details.

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