Monday 17 December 2018

British travellers will need to pay 7 euros to visit Europe post-Brexit

The fee will be waived for those under 18 and those over 70

British travellers will have to pay €7 to visit the EU after Brexit, the European Commission has confirmed.

From 2021, UK citizens will have to pay the fee every three years to pre-register for an electronic visa waiver, a system similar to the Esta scheme used by the US.

The pre-authorisation fee will be waived for travellers under 18 and those over 70, which means it will apply to an estimated 40 million Britons.

The proposed Etias (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) will see citizens of 61 countries outside the Schengen area required to pre-register for visa-free travel

Predictions British tourists would have to pay to visit the EU after Brexit were previously dismissed as scaremongering by Leave campaigners. Yet draft regulation for the new travel scheme makes clear the UK would be considered a “third country” and subject to the same rules as other countries.

“The European Travel Information and Authorisation System will apply to United Kingdom nationals once union law on free movement of union citizens ceases to apply to them, as to other visa-free third country nationals,” it reads.

Natasha Bertaud, coordinating spokesperson for Jean-Claude Juncker, confirmed that the Etias would apply to British tourists after Brexit, but that it was “way cheaper” than an Esta.

Despite government hopes that the UK could negotiate an exemption from the fee, a European Commission spokesperson told Sky News: “Once Etias enters into operation, all visa-exempt non-EU nationals who plan to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply via Etias.”

Research from Abta, the body representing travel agents, shows that more than £33bn is spent each year by British travellers in Europe.

In 2017, there were 72.8 million visits overseas by UK residents, an increase of 3 per cent from 2016, according to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics. Of the 10 most visited countries by Britons, nine are in Europe.

(Source: The Independent

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