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EUROPEAN UNION

Britons and other non-EU travellers face €7 fee to enter Denmark for visits

British nationals as well as all other visa-exempt non-EU citizens will have to get authorisation and pay a €7 fee to enter the Schengen zone when new rules come in to force before the end of 2022, the European commission confirmed on Tuesday.

Britons and other non-EU travellers face €7 fee to enter Denmark for visits
Britons and other non-EU travellers face €7 fee to enter Denmark for visits (Photo by STEFANIE LOOS / AFP)

The move is part of the Commission’s plans for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) – and will affect all visitors coming from visa-exempt countries – like the UK, the US and Canada – who want to travel to EU states like France, Germany, Spain and Italy.  

“Once ETIAS is in place, non-EU citizens travelling to the Schengen area who are exempt from the visa requirement will need to register and obtain an authorisation before travelling,” said the Commission in a press release.

“The system will cross-check travellers against EU information systems for internal security, borders and migration before their trip, helping to identify ahead of time people who may pose a risk to security or health, as well as compliance with migration rules.”

The move is part of the EU’s phasing-in plan for external border management with the ETIAS system aimed at boosting security to prevent crime and terrorism as well control migration.

Travellers affected will have to fill in an online application form which will have to be approved. 

The Commission said on Tuesday the “vast majority of cases (expected to be over 95%) will result in automatic approval”.

“In limited cases, where further checks on the traveller are needed, the issuing of the travel authorisation could take up to 30 days,” the EU Commission says

The ETIAS authorisation will be a €7 one-off fee, and will be valid for three years as well as for multiple entries into Schengen states during that time. 

Applicants will be able to apply via an official website and/or app for mobile devices, the Commissions says.

Which countries are affected?

In general, visas are required for entry to EU countries for non-EU nationals. 

But a visa is not needed for visits of up to 90 days in an 180‑day period for nationals of countries for which the European Community has abolished the visa requirement. That includes the UK, the US, Canada and Australia, among others. 

At the moment for instance, British passport holders who do not hold a residence title in an EU country, can enter Europe for short visits and tourist trips without having to pay a fee or organise a visa – although Covid restrictions have made travel a lot trickier. 

The EU Commission said the ETIAS will not change “which non-EU countries are subject to a visa requirement and will also not introduce a new visa requirement for nationals of countries that are visa-exempt”.

When will it happen?

We haven’t got an exact date yet but the EU Commission says it will happen by the end of 2022. 

The date from which travellers will be able to apply will be published on this site.

According to the EU “ETIAS will be a largely automated IT system created to identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors travelling to the Schengen States, whilst at the same time facilitate crossing borders for the vast majority of travellers who do not pose such risks.”

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TRAVEL NEWS

EU extends Covid travel certificates until 2023

The EU has announced that its Covid travel certificate will be extended until 2023 - so what does this mean if you have a trip planned this year?

EU extends Covid travel certificates until 2023

Cleaning up the phone and thinking of getting rid of that Covid app? Just wait a minute. 

The European Union has decided to extend the use of EU Covid certificates by one year, until June 30th 2023. 

The European Commission first made the proposal in February as the virus, and the Omicron variant in particular, was continuing to spread in Europe. At that point it was “not possible to determine the impact of a possible increase in infections in the second half of 2022 or of the emergence of new variants,” the Commission said. 

Now tourism is taking off again, while Covid cases are on the rise in several European countries.

So the EU has taken action to ensure that travellers can continue using the so-called ‘digital green certificates’ in case new restrictions are put in place after their initial deadline of June 30th, 2022. 

What is the EU ‘digital green certificate’?

If you have travelled within the EU in the last year, you have probably already used it.

On 1st July 2021, EU countries started to introduce the ‘digital green certificate’, a Covid pass designed by the European Commission to facilitate travel between EU member states following months of restrictions.

It can be issued to EU citizens and residents who have been vaccinated against Covid, have tested negative or have recovered from the virus, as a proof of their health status. 

Although it’s called a certificate, it isn’t a separate document, it’s just a way of recognising all EU countries’ national health pass schemes.

It consists of a QR code displayed on a device or printed.

So if you live in an EU country, the QR code issued when you were vaccinated or tested can be scanned and recognised by all other EU countries – you can show the code either on a paper certificate or on your country’s health pass app eg TousAntiCovid if you’re in France or the green pass in Italy. 

Codes are recognised in all EU 27 member states, as well as in 40 non-EU countries that have joined the scheme, including the UK – full list here.

What does the extension of certificates mean? 

In practice, the legal extension of the EU Covid pass does not mean much if EU countries do not impose any restrictions.

It’s important to point out that each country within the EU decides on its own rules for entry – requiring proof of vaccination, negative tests etc so you should check with your country of destination.

All the EU certificate does is provide an easy way for countries to recognise each others’ certificates.

At present travel within the EU is fairly relaxed, with most countries only requiring negative tests for unvaccinated people, but the certificate will become more relevant again if countries impose new measures to curb the spread of the virus. 

According to the latest data by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, countries such as France, Portugal and parts of Italy and Austria are in the red again. 

The EU legislation on the certificate neither prescribes nor prohibits such measures, but makes sure that all certificate holders are treated in the same way in any participating country. 

The EU certificate can also be used for access to venues such as bars and restaurants if countries decided to re-impose health or vaccines passes on a domestic basis.

So nothing changes?

In fact, the legislation introduces some changes to the current certificates. These include the clarification that passes issued after vaccination should reflect all doses administered, regardless of the member state where the inoculation occurred. This followed complaints of certificates indicating an incorrect number of vaccine doses when these were received in different countries.

In addition, new rules allow the possibility to issue a certificate of recovery following an antigen test and extend the range of uthorised antigen tests to qualify for the green pass. 

To support the development and study of vaccines against Covid, it will also be possible to issue vaccination certificates to people participating in clinical trials.

At the insistence of the European Parliament, the Commission will have to publish an assessment of the situation by December 31st 2022 and propose to repeal or maintain the certificate accordingly. So, while it is extended for a year, the certificate could be discontinued earlier if it will no longer be consider necessary. 

The European parliament rapporteur, Spanish MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, said: “The lack of coordination from EU governments on travel brought chaos and disruption to the lives of millions of Europeans that simply wanted to move freely and safely throughout the EU.

“We sincerely hope that the worst of the pandemic is far behind us and we do not want Covid certificates in place a day longer than necessary.”

Vaccination requirements for the certificate

An EU certificate can be issued to a person vaccinated with any type of vaccine, but many countries accept only EMA-approved vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax, Valneva and Janssen) – if you have been vaccinated with another vaccine, you should check the rules on the country you are travelling to.  

Certificates remain valid for 9 months (270) days following a complete vaccination cycle – so if you had your vaccine more than nine months ago you will need a booster in order to be considered fully vaccinated.

There is no requirement for a second booster, so if you have had a booster you remain ‘fully vaccinated’ even if your booster was administered more than 9 months ago. 

As of 1st March 2022, EU countries had issued almost 1.2 billion EU Covid certificates, of which 1.15 billion following vaccination, 511 million as a result of tests and 55 million after recovery from the virus. 

France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Austria are the countries that have issued the largest number of EU Covid certificates. 

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