EU confirms date for post-Brexit £6 fee for European travel and when Britons will have to provide biometrics

EU confirms date for post-Brexit £6 fee for European travel and when Britons will have to provide biometrics Britons will have to pay £6 to enter the EU from 2025. Credit: Adobe/Kim Mogg

By Ralph Blackburn

The date when British holidaymakers will have to pay a £6 visa fee to enter certain European countries after Brexit has been confirmed.

The EU Council has said that the much-delayed Electronic Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias) will start from 2025. This requires UK citizens post Brexit to register and pay a £6 fee for entry into the Schengen Area – which is a majority of EU countries.

Britons will also have to enter details about their employment, address and previous trips, as well as biometric information such as fingerprints and a headshot. The Etias form will last for three years and allows holidaymakers to enter the EU for 90 days in every 180 days, as is the case currently.

What is the Electronic Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias)?

The Electronic Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias) will be required for non-EU citizens who do not need a visa – such as the UK and other countries like New Zealand – to enter the Schengen Area. This includes almost all EU countries such as France, Spain and Germany, however not Ireland, Cyprus or Romania.

It will require a £6 (7 Euro) fee and last for three years. It was originally due to be implemented from November 2023, but has been delayed repeatedly. The EU Council has now said: “Etias will be ready to enter into operation in spring 2025.”

The Independent’s travel expert Simon Calder reports that there will likely be a soft launch, so the system will only become mandatory in the latter part of 2025.

Guidelines say the system will function in the same way as the American Esta (Electronic System For Travel Authorisation), which means applicants for the Etias will undergo detailed checks to ensure they are eligible to travel to the EU.

You may be denied a permit for several reasons – for example, if you are a convicted criminal, travelling from areas which may pose a danger to public health or on a travel watchlist. The application will include questions about your employment, address and previous trips

What is the Entry-Exit System?

The Etias is reliant on the new Entry-Exit system, which has also been repeatedly delayed. It is an automated registration system for UK holidaymakers – who don’t require a visa. It is designed to root out travellers who overstay the current 90-day limit.

It was initially slated to launch in 2022, but has faced multiple setbacks. The EU Council said last week: “The new roadmap for the delivery of the new IT architecture foresees that the Entry/Exit System will be ready to enter into operation in autumn 2024.”

It will replace the much-loved stamps that Britons are currently getting on their passports after Brexit. Travellers will need to have their fingerprints and a facial biometric taken, and scan their passports every time they enter the EU.

It is likely to increase processing times significantly, with one EU government warning: “It takes up to four times longer to do the new process.” It is unclear exactly how it will work at hard borders such as Dover or the LeShuttle Channel Tunnel in Folkestone.

Which EU countries require an ETIAS permit from British travellers?

Here is the full list of countries requiring a travel permit from 2024.

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland