British travellers heading to Schengen EU countries will have to start paying a visa fee by May 2023, the European Commission has confirmed.
The introduction of the visa fee for UK nationals travelling to Europe was meant to be introduced at the end of 2022, but the EU has now postponed it for a second time.
The change adds another step to travellers' growing list of pre-holiday admin, including Covid testing, and checking vaccine validity and booster shots.
From May 2023, UK passport holders will need to apply for travel pre-authorisation through ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme) and pay a fee of €7. The ETIAS will allow citizens of 63 countries to visit the Schengen Area with travel pre-authorisation rather than a full visa. This includes the UK, which is now considered a third country after Brexit.
Like the American Esta visa-waiver system, travellers have to pre-register their details and pay the fee before travelling. The authorisation will then be valid for three years, or until your passport expires.
Previously, as EU citizens, Britons benefited from freedom of movement across the EU. For short stays in the UK of up to 90 days, travellers won't need an EU visa, but must apply for ETIAS.
The ETIAS scheme was originally due to start in January 2021, but the European authorities later announced a postponement of the scheme's launch date, first to the end of 2022 and now to May 2023.
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It's not currently possible to register for ETIAS. Confusingly, there are already a number of non-official websites sharing information about ETIAS. They may look similar to official government websites, and may offer you the opportunity to sign up for a notification when the scheme begins. But it's always best to get your information straight from the .
Be wary of third-party sites offering to do the leg-work for you, and remember that the expected fee should be €7.
The European Commission has confirmed it expects the scheme to launch in May 2023.
No. Though it isn't part of the Schengen area, Ireland remains part of the European Union (unlike Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland). Those travelling to EU countries from Ireland for short stays won't need a visa or an ETIAS waiver.
You'll need the ETIAS visa waiver to travel to all Schengen area states, plus non-Schengen area microstates such as Andorra and Monaco. The exhaustive list includes: