(CNN) — Planning a trip to Europe next summer? The cost of living may be rising but there is one small comfort — you no longer have to pay €7 ($7.35) to enter.
The European Commission has postponed the launch of its ETIAS visa waiver scheme, which would see all non-EU passport holders need pre-trip permission to enter the bloc.
It will now be operational by November 2023, according to a new memo issued by the European Commission.
ETIAS is not a visa; Rather, it is a visa waiver scheme similar to the United States’ ESTA program, which was launched in 2008.
It doesn’t replace the visa, either; It will only apply to non-EU nationals from countries that currently do not require a visa for the EU. It is faster than a visa to process, is done online (like ESTA), and requires no biometric information. However, like ESTA, it also has a cost to acquire.
EU tourists are exempt, and have freedom of movement around the bloc, allowing them to spend as much time as they want in many countries. EU residents will also be exempt from the scheme, regardless of their nationality.
But for everyone entering the bloc from a country that did not previously require a visa, ETIAS will be mandatory. The move affects around 60 countries, including the US and the UK, which lost freedom of movement after Brexit. Nothing changes for those who need a visa in advance to enter.
According to a new memo issued by the EU, the application process will be handled by a “largely automated IT system” with approval “within minutes” for an estimated 95% of applicants. The maximum time required for approval can be up to one month in “very exceptional cases”. Anyone whose application is rejected will have the right to appeal.
ETIAS authorization is valid for an unlimited number of entries for three years. However, holders must comply with immigration and overstay regulations. Currently, third-party nationals cannot stay in the bloc for more than 90 days, for each 180-day period.
Price: €7 ($7.35) for people aged between 18 and 70. It is not yet clear whether others will have a lower rate or be able to apply for free. In comparison, the US charges $21 for an ESTA authorization.
Applications cannot be made yet, and the date when it will begin has not yet been determined.
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