British travellers to the EU could be subject to pre-travel authorisation costing €7 each time, according to a new agreement reached in Brussels today.
Proposals for the new European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS), agreed by the European Council and European Parliament, means holiday makers and business travellers into the Schengen area could be subject to advance checks as part of measures designed to tackle illegal immigration, improve security and reduce delays at borders.
Although some applicants can be rejected at that point, gaining travel authorisation does not denote an automatic right of entry or stay. The border guard who will take the final decision, the EU said.
The system will apply to visa-exempt third country nationals – which British citizens will become after Brexit if we leave the Single Market and customs union as the government intends.
"They will need to obtain a travel authorisation before their trip, via an online application. For each application, the applicant will be required to pay a travel authorisation fee of €7," the EU document states. Authorisation can last for up to three years.
"Today's agreement is another important step in protecting the EU's external borders. By knowing who is coming to the EU before they even arrive at the border, we will be better able to stop those who may pose a threat to our citizens," said Valentin Radev, Bulgarian interior minister.
Having been approved by the European Council, the regulation will now be submitted to the European Parliament for a vote at first reading.