Europe To Charge Travelers for Entry in 2024

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79 shares, 140 points

For several years now, we’ve been hearing about the imminent introduction of the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which, at last report, was slated to launch in May of this year. But, the program’s rollout has just been delayed for a fourth time, with an anticipated start date pushed back to sometime in 2024, according to CNN.

After being announced by the European Commission in 2016 and passed into legislation in 2018, the digital pre-travel program was originally intended to debut in early 2022, but pandemic complications saw it pushed back first to January 2023, then May 2023 and, now, an unspecified date in 2024.

Since its initial announcement, ETIAS has also been referred to as a visa waiver scheme and an added visitor fee, due to the €7 processing charge. Described most accurately, it’s a new pre-screening and entry authorization system, similar to the U.S. ESTA and Canadian eTA. It will apply only to passport holders from “third countries” (nations outside the European Union) that currently enjoy visa-free travel arrangements with the E.U. and broader passport-free Schengen area.

Starting sometime next year, an approved ETIAS entry waiver will be required from visa-free travelers entering the E.U. zone for the purposes of tourism, business or transit, authorizing entry and travel within the bloc for 90 days in any 180-day period, and will be good for three years. Travelers will pay a processing fee of €7 (currently $7.43), which, Compared to the United States’ ESTA fee of $21 for two years, is really sort of a bargain.

The European Commission’s intention in creating ETIAS was to improve security within the bloc by capturing data on travelers from 59 of the 62 countries with visa-free access to the area, as visitation has increased significantly in recent years. Its purposes include strengthening border security against increased terrorism incidents and migration-related abuses of visa-free arrangements, serving and as both an overall monitoring system and a deterrent to potential criminals.

European Union flag over a map of the region. (photo via iStock/Getty Images E+/FotografiaBasica)

Another of its objectives includes reducing border wait times and streamlining entry at the border and reducing wait-times, making it easier and more efficient for border management for security personnel to screen travelers upon arrival and departure from E.U. member nations.

Reasons for the delay of ETIAS’ launch, according to, probably include continued setbacks related to COVID-19’s disruption of the travel industry, as well as funding challenges for the many airports, ports, rail and land crossings across the bloc that simply don’t have the infrastructure currently to handle the kind of data capture the new system demands. The site said that Eurostar, Eurotunnel and other operators and service providers have expressed concern about their inability to capture facial and fingerprint data to feed into ETIAS.

There is also the call for an advanced technological infrastructure to consider, which will need to be installed and fully operational at all air, rail, land and sea border crossings throughout Europe in order to for the vast network of necessary databases and software applications to be integrated and the system to function properly.

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Source: TravelPulse

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