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Planning a European holiday? New €7 charge on its way

Planning a European holiday? New €7 charge on its way

Friday 27 January 2023

Planning a European holiday? New €7 charge on its way

Friday 27 January 2023

British passport holders wishing to holiday in France, Portugal, Poland and most other EU countries will have to pay a €7 charge before they travel from November due to a little-publicised consequence of Brexit.

For short stays in the EU of up to 90 days, including day trips to Saint Malo, British passport holders won’t need a visa, but will have to apply for a visa-waiver.

Once granted – through the European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme – the visa-waiver will be valid for a minimum of two years, so islanders with a British passport will not have to pay €7 every time they visit the EU but just when they need a new visa-waiver, or when their passport expires.

The visa-waiver fee for Britons was due to be introduced this May but the European Commission postponed it by six months. From November, travellers will have to pay to visit any countries in Europe’s passport-free zone, the Schengen Area.

ferry_terminal_saint malo1.jpg

Pictured: Even for day trips to Saint Malo, British passport-holding islanders will need to apply for a visa-waiver.

Countries in that zone include France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and Greece.

Like the American ESTA visa-waiver system, British travellers have to pre-register their details and pay the fee before travelling. 

Before Brexit, Britons benefited from freedom of movement across the EU but this came to an end when the UK – and by extension, Jersey – left the EU in January 2020.

The new charge has thus far received little publicity locally or nationally, and so many islanders may not be aware.

Mark Cockerham, Head of the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service explained: “This is a visa waiver - not a visa as such, and so does not introduce visa-like obligations such as the need to go to a consulate and provide biometric data.  

“It will apply to Jersey residents holding a British passport - which includes the island-variant passport - and this document is required and needs to be valid to make an application. 

“For those familiar with the existing American-equivalent ESTA, it will operate in a similar way in that the majority of online applications are issued relatively quickly for a fee. 

“The waiver is valid for at least two years and allows tourist or business travel for up to 90 days.”

He added: “Although it is a European requirement, we will soon be putting some information on to signpost people to the relevant webpages.”

Although part of the EU, Ireland is not part of the Schengen Area. It is also part of the Common Travel Area so Britons will not require a visa-waiver to travel there.

Although Britons will not need to provide biometric data when they apply for ETIAS authorisation, they will need to register a facial image and their fingerprints when they visit the Schengen Area. 

This new entry-exit regime is due to launch in May.

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