Non-EU citizens travelling to or through the bloc: your trips are soon going to get just that little bit more expensive. From 2025, anyone travelling on passports from several countries around the world between the ages of 18 and 70 will have to pay €7 (£6, $7.50) to enter or transit through any EU country.
A new visa system for visiting EU countries called the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is set to come into force. When it’s launched, visitors will need an official ETIAS visa waiver in order to keep visiting European countries. It will be required for trips of up to 90 days (if you want to stay longer, you’ll need another visa entirely) for both tourists and business travellers, and will need to be obtained at least 96 hours before departure.
And while this might all sound quite complicated (and spenny), it isn’t as bad as it sounds. The fee doesn’t have to be paid every time you enter an EU country. The waiver lasts for three years, so you only have to get a new one either once it runs out or if you get a new passport.
While the requirement for Brits to use the ETIAS visa waiver system is a consequence of Brexit, it also applies to passport-holders of plenty of other countries around the world. From the USA and Canada to Brazil, Japan and Australia, a grand total of 57 countries are eligible. You can see a full list of ETIAS countries here.
So when exactly will the ETIAS system come into effect? Initially, it was supposed to be implemented in November 2023, but was then delayed due to worries from EU member states about its implementation. It has since faced further delays due to IT setbacks in building the new Entry/Exit System (EES). It’s now estimated that the ETIAS system will be launching in Spring 2025, meaning that visitors don’t have to worry about any of this stuff for at least another year.
For the time being, there is currently no fee for most travellers visiting the EU – so make the most of it while you can!
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