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Brits to be charged €7 to enter Europe under ESTA-style system

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British holidaymakers travelling to Europe will have to pay a €7 fee before their arrival from next year, the European Commission has confirmed.

Brussels is moving forward with plans to pre-screen visitors from outside the EU who are entering the border-free Schengen area in order to avoid the need for visas.

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will be similar to the US-style ESTA system.

The ETIAS, like the ESTA, is a travel authorisation for travellers not requiring a visa to visit Europe.

Visitors will undergo additional security checks prior to being permitted to enter the EU.

ETIAS is expected to be operational by the end of 2022.

Travellers will be able to apply for their ETIAS online and authorisation should be instant, but in some cases could take up to 30 days.

All visitors, regardless of age, will require a separate and approved ETIAS but people under 18 and over 70 will not have to pay the €7 fee.

The system was first put forward in 2016, before the UK left the EU.

At that time, Sir Julian King, the final British European Commissioner, said: “Terrorists and criminals don’t care much for national borders. The only way to defeat them is by working together effectively. ETIAS will help do that: by spotting problem individuals and stopping them from coming, we’ll enhance Europe’s internal security.”

The UK government has said it has no plans to bring in a reciprocal fee for arrivals from the EU and Schengen area countries.

Junior education minister Michelle Donelan told LBC on Wednesday: “I believe we have no plans to do that. We have our visa plans already outlined.”

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