European countries will soon start requiring inbound travelers to pay a fee before traveling

From next year, travelers entering EU countries will have to pay a fee under the bloc’s new visa waiver program called the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). .

The scheme, which was launched as early as 2016, will require all non-Europeans, including those from the UK, US and Canada, to obtain an electronic travel permit before arrival. The requirement extends to all travelers who do not need a visa before travelling.

The permit will cost each applicant 7 euros (approximately US$7.40 or CAD$9.55) and will be valid for travel within Europe for three years.

An ETIAS website says the process should take no more than 10 minutes and 95% of applicants will be approved within minutes. Travelers will only need a passport to apply (as well as a credit or debit card to make payment) and no biometrics will be collected in the process.

According to the ETIAS website, the program “will allow the European Union to determine the eligibility of citizens of visa-exempt or ETIAS-eligible countries. Applicants will be required to complete an ETIAS registration before traveling to Europe, and information provided will be pre-screened to detect security, health or migration risks.

If a request is denied, travelers may be asked to provide additional documentation, which they must do within 96 hours. In cases where an application is entirely rejected, they will have the right to appeal.

The United States requires a similar procedure to be carried out as part of their visa waiver program. The US version, called Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA, is required for anyone boarding a plane or ship bound for the United States. to travel to the United States.

The ESTA costs applicants US$21.