The European Commission has announced that British nationals will have to pay a visa waiver fee to enter Europe’s Schengen Area next year.

The move concerns the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), an online platform which is part of a plan to improve border security for the Schengen Area.

The ETIAS is set to launch before the end of 2022 and will affect visa-exempt non-EU nationals. See our feature:

Which nationalities will need the ETIAS visa waiver?

Travellers will need to fill in an online application form via the official website or the app to receive approval, with the EU Commission stating that “a vast majority of cases (expected to be over 95 per cent) will result in automatic approval”. If further checks are needed, the issuing of the authorisation may take up to 30 days.

The ETIAS authorisation will cost €7 for all applicants between the ages of 18 and 70, but will be a one-off fee and will be valid for three years and multiple entries into Schengen states.

It will be a mandatory condition for entry to the Schengen States, and will be checked alongside travel documents by the border guards when crossing the EU border. The European Commission will publish the date from which travellers can apply on its official website.

The European Commission states:

This prior verification of visa exempt non-EU citizens will facilitate border checks; avoid bureaucracy and delays for travellers when presenting themselves at the borders; ensure a coordinated and harmonised risk assessment of third-country nationals; and substantially reduce the number of refusals of entry at border crossing points.” 

It added that it will not change which non-EU countries are subject to a visa requirement, and will not introduce a new visa requirement for nationals of countries that are visa-exempt. 

See further information on the ETIAS here.