COVID-19 might have caused a slew of travel restrictions and strict guidelines for entry into Europe, but the newest barrier to entry has nothing to do with the pandemic: Beginning in spring 2023, the European Travel Information and Authorization System will charge people from the United States and most other foreign visitors 7 euros to get into the continent. The organization claims it is implementing to strengthen security at European borders.
The ETIAS is calling the new fee a “visitors tax,” however it also serves as registration fee for anyone entering the European Union and the Schengen Area (the 20 countries in Europe that do not require passports or border control for entry). That means that starting next year, travelers from the US will have to pay a little less than $8 to enter the EU for stays up to 90 days.
Once visitors are registered through the ETIAS system, their names will be cross checked against government watchlists before they can gain access to the EU. The system doesn’t just involve a fee: Travelers will need to answer background questions on the ETIAS online portal before they can depart. Thankfully, authorization should only take a few minutes if your background is clean. Airlines may also be required to double check that passengers have ETIAS authorization before allowing them to board.
The news comes after another ETIAS-implemented change for travel into Europe in 2021: US citizens going to Europe must now apply for a visa through ETIAS to enter. The visa is valid for three years, and ETIAS stated at the time that the new requirement was also intended to strengthen border security.