Europe as a region was the largest source of international travelers. (photo courtesy of Bet_Noire/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
The European Union will soon begin charging a fee to visitors coming to the 26 nations of the E.U. and Schengen area.
The bloc announced the launch of its long-awaited European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) program, which will debut in May 2023.
The scheme is similar to the United States’ ESTA, which charges visitors a processing fee and an authorization fee to those entering the U.S. from visa waiver nations.
The European Union system applies to travelers from countries that currently have visa-free access to the region, this includes the U.S. The program will register, pre-screen and monitor foreign visitors and will cost travelers approximately $7.39. The process is done online and requires no biometric information and approvals are received in minutes, according to E.U. officials.
ETIAS authorization will be valid for an unlimited number of entries over three years. While a start date has been announced as May 2023, no date for applications has been set.
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