UK tourists will need to pay for a visa waiver to enter Spain and other Schengen Zone countries from the end of this year. Eugene Costello reports…
Up until now, even post-Brexit, UK tourists have not needed to pay for a visa (or, technically, a visa waiver) to enter Spain. But as of the end of this year, UK tourists will need to pay for a visa waiver to enter EU countries.
The ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) is likely to arrive by the end of 2022.
The electronic travel permit is planned to enhance security and enforce the borders of the Schengen zone. It is to be valid for three years and allow unlimited entries into the EU.
The good news is, that UK tourists will only need to pay for one visa waiver one for all EU travel over three years, and it is inexpensive at only €7. The European Commission has said that it expects 95% of all applications to be successful.
What information do I need for an ETIAS?
The information required to receive your visa waiver to the Schengen area is as follows:
• A passport, valid beyond the intended stay in Europe
• An email address
• A debit or credit card
Applicants will also need to submit some personal information, including their full name as it appears on the passport, date and place of birth, gender, home address, and nationality. Travellers should complete the application at least 72 hours prior to their trip.
It has not gone down well with British people already living in Spain, with one commenter in a Facebook group saying, “I can’t believe reading the comments on here condoning this and backing Brexit.
Wake up FFS. We were all duped by lies again. Brexit is the worst thing we could ever have entered in to.
What happened to the bilateral agreement that allowed British citizens to get the same rights in the schengen area as the British give to EU citizens…? More lies on a manifesto that were ignored after the deal was done. We were all lied to…again…yet some people think this acceptable.”
“It’s not the end of the world”
Others are more philosophical about the changes, with one commenting: “If I can afford a holiday to another European country, I can afford an additional £2.33 on my bill. I pay more than that in various airport fees to use airports in the UK. It also works both ways, this isn’t just ‘British people paying more tax’. And for the record, the USA is now charging $21 for 2 years, so I’d say this scheme is a bargain.”
With a tourism tax now proposed by the Generalitat Valenciana, however, voices within hostellería y turismo, the hospitality and tourism industry, worry that this is yet another barrier to returning to pre-pandemic levels after the worst two years on record. However, figures for April in La Comunidad Valenciana show that tourism is already higher than April 2019, long before the pandemic so it is unlikely to be seriously affected by this small levy.
The application form will take around ten minutes and is applicable to everyone except those younger than 18 and those older than 70. Spain is the UK’s favourite overseas destination by a country mile, with 18.13 million visitors from the UK in 2019. France is second, with 10.35 million. Italy is next with almost half that number, at 5.11 million visitors. The USA is the most visited country outside of Europe and the fourth most visited overall, with 4.8 million Brits travelling there.