The introduction of a €7 visa-waiver fee has been pushed back, again, meaning British travellers will not have to pay an additional charge to travel to the EU until at least 2024. The European travel information and authorisation system (Estias) will begin operating in November 2023, however travellers are being given a ‘grace period’ of what it believed to be six months.

The Estias will apply to all non-EU citizens from 60 countries who currently benefit from visa-free travel to the EU. It will work similarly to the US ESTA scheme and non-EU citizens will need to fill out an online form and pay €7 before being allowed to enter Europe’s passport-free zone. Approval will be given in minutes, in most cases.

It is believed the rollout of Estias will make travel easier for Brits. Currently, since BREXIT, British travellers are having to undergo more intense passport and security checks which can be timely; particularly with the spike in travellers over the summer period combined with staff shortages as Britain’s major transport hubs. Once operating, some checks will not need to be carried out as the information will be on the passengers Estias.

Although leeway has been given whilst the government rolls out campaigns explaining the new rules and processes, once the Estias is fully in place those who do not complete the form and gain authorisation are likely to be refused entry to the country. It is not yet known if the form can be completed whilst at the border; similar to how airport visas can be obtained.

Those who do not have the correct documentation, including, but not limited to visas, and as a result are refused entry at the border will not be entitled to claim back losses from their travel insurance company. This is an industry-wide exclusion and will be outlined in the policy wording.