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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

Where can you travel in Europe? EU launches new website to help tourists

The new website Re-open.eu gives detailed, country-specific information about potential travel restrictions, what services are open as well as the latest on the coronavirus spread.

Where can you travel in Europe? EU launches new website to help tourists
Photo: Screenshot Reopen.europa.eu

The European Commission launched the website along with an app on Monday, to help tourists choose their holiday destination this summers as borders reopen across the territory.

The website is called “Re-open EU” and contains regularly updated information available in 24 languages.

Users may select their preferred language and country of destination on the website, click on “go!” and find an interactive map providing the latest information on key point for travellers, such as

  • Is travel into the country for tourism purposes possible?
  • Are non-essential (other than medicine and food) shops open?
  • Are there any risk areas under lockdown in this country?

For example, in Italy (see below), the health situation is qualified as “green” by the EU at this point, which means that there are no areas in the country that are currently under lockdown.

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Photo: Screenshot EU

In fact, the only EU country qualified as red at this point is France, which has been given the colour because its overseas territories Mayotte and French Guiana still follow some lockdown restrictions. In mainland France, however, the lockdown has been lifted.

When looking at travel restrictions, there are still several countries that have not completely eased their border controls yet (see picture below).

Details about what kind of border controls remain in place can be found for each country. 

Photo: Screenshot EU

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TRAVEL NEWS

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example. 

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