Czech Republic and other EU countries to charge visitors a fee from next year

Thirty counties in Europe will be part of ETIAS, an online system intended to increase security by screening visitors. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 06.03.2023 10:55:00 (updated on 20.03.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Next year, in addition to having a valid passport, tourists visiting most European countries will need to obtain travel authorization.

Those who are currently eligible to visit 30 European countries without a visa waiver must pay a EUR 7 travel authorization fee to apply to the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). The new program is intended to bolster security.

The list of countries that will require ETIAS authorization encompasses 26 members of the European Union (including the Czech Republic) plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. Out of the EU, only Ireland is not participating.

Who needs to apply

Holders of passports from the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will need to apply before visiting any of the 30 ETIAS European countries for short-term stays (up to 90 days in any 180-day period) for tourism or business. In total, that's some 1.4 billion people in 63 countries.

The travel authorization, linked to each user’s passport, is valid for up to three years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.

Those who have long-term visas to stay in Europe will not need to use the system. UK nationals and their family members who are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement are also exempt from ETIAS.

Family members of EU citizens or non-EU nationals who have the right to move freely throughout the European Union are exempt from paying the application fee. Also exempt are people under 18 or above 70 years of age. A FAQ explains in detail who will need to use the system.

The ETIAS authorization does not guarantee entry. When you arrive, a border guard will ask to see the visitor’s passport and other documents and verify that they meet entry conditions, according to the EU’s website.

The application could take minutes, and potentially require an interview

Applicants will be asked to provide details about any criminal convictions, any past travels to war or conflict zones, and whether they have recently been the subject of a decision requiring them to leave the territory of any country. This is in addition to questions verifying personal details regarding education and occupation.

As of now, the application process can't be completed online, but the EU has a website devoted to official information. Most applications will be processed within minutes, but in some cases, it can take up to 14 days, and an applicant could be asked for additional information or be called in for an interview.

The system will be operational sometime in 2024, but the exact date has not been announced. When it is operational, applications will be made online via a website or a mobile app. There is no mail or in-person option. Originally, ETIAS was supposed to take effect in 2021, but the launch has been delayed for technical and other reasons.

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