The EU’s new tourist tax that’s set to charge Brits and others €7 to enter the Schengen zone has been pushed back to 2024.
The controversial measure, only proposed once the UK had left the EU, has been bedevilled by delays, uncertainty and internal criticism.
The latest delay comes a day after the Olive Press broke the news that the UK is set to introduce its own tit-for-tat tourist tax called the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) for non-visa holders coming to the country.
It is also just one of a string of unexplained delays that have seen the start date for the ETIAS continually pushed back.
The Brexit-inspired tax was originally slated to begin in January this year, and was only pushed back once the start date had already passed, leaving many tourists and expats perplexed as to whether they should be paying it.
But once it finally does come into effect, applicants will be required to tell the EU about their health history, criminal record and EU immigration history, as well as other biometric data such as age and date of birth.
Checks should be done almost immediately, meaning they can be done last minute if travellers forget, but for those with problematic background checks they can last as long as 96 hours.
With the UK’s ETA also coming in in 2024, the two reciprocal tourist taxes look set to go head-to-head at the same time.
Once the ETA is in effect, tourists from Spain and other European countries will need to complete a form before boarding a plane to the UK.
The ostensible purpose of the ETA, according to the British Home Office – just as with the ETIAS – is to improve security and digitise the UK’s borders.
Visitors will be required to disclose their full name, their date of birth, country of citizenship and details of their trip, with currently no plans to require more invasive information.
There will also be a fee to be paid and, although it has not been revealed how much it will be, it is likely to be in a similar range to the ETIAS – about £6.20.
Both the ETA and the ETIAS will impact citizens from countries which currently don’t require getting a visa from their local embassy in order to visit, meaning visitors from Canada, the USA, Australia, Brazil, Japan and dozens of other countries will also be affected.