how much will you have to pay to enter Europe from 2023

(CNN) — It’s finally here: fee-free travel to the European Union will be a memory. The EU announced the launch of its long-awaited visa waiver system, ETIAS, due to debut in May 2023.

Although ETIAS is not the same as a visa —it is faster, it is done online and does not require biometric information—, its acquisition still has a procedure and a cost, quite similar to the United States system, ESTA.

The ETIAS (for its acronym in English), which stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System, was scheduled for the end of 2022.

EU travelers are exempt and enjoy freedom of movement around the bloc, allowing them to spend as much time as they like in many countries. EU residents will also be exempt.

But for everyone else entering the bloc from a country that previously did not require a visa, the ETIAS will be mandatory. The measure affects some 60 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, which lost freedom of movement after Brexit. Nothing changes for those who previously needed a visa to enter.

The application process will be carried out through a “largely automated computer system” with approval granted “within minutes” for 95% of applicants, according to a new note published by the EU.

The maximum time needed for approval could be up to one month in “very exceptional cases”. Any person whose application is denied shall have the right to appeal.

The ETIAS authorization is valid for an unlimited number of entries for three years. However, holders must respect immigration and demurrage regulations. Currently, third-country nationals cannot stay more than 90 days in the bloc as a whole, for every 180-day period.

The cost will be 7 euros (US$ 7.35) for those between 18 and 70 years old. It is not yet clear if the others will have a reduced rate or be able to request it for free. By comparison, the United States charges $21 for an ESTA authorization.

The start date for applications has not yet been announced.

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