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EUROPEAN UNION

Britons and other non-EU travellers face €7 fee to enter Europe for visits

British nationals as well as all other visa-exempt non-EU citizens will have to get authorisation and pay a €7 fee to enter the Schengen zone when new rules come in to force before the end of 2022, the European commission confirmed on Tuesday.

Britons and other non-EU travellers face €7 fee to enter Europe for visits
Britons and other non-EU travellers face €7 fee to enter Europe for visits (Photo by STEFANIE LOOS / AFP)

The move is part of the Commission’s plans for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) – and will affect all visitors coming from visa-exempt countries – like the UK, the US and Canada – who want to travel to EU states like France, Germany, Spain and Italy.  

“Once ETIAS is in place, non-EU citizens travelling to the Schengen area who are exempt from the visa requirement will need to register and obtain an authorisation before travelling,” said the Commission in a press release.

“The system will cross-check travellers against EU information systems for internal security, borders and migration before their trip, helping to identify ahead of time people who may pose a risk to security or health, as well as compliance with migration rules.”

The move is part of the EU’s phasing-in plan for external border management with the ETIAS system aimed at boosting security to prevent crime and terrorism as well control migration.

Travellers affected will have to fill in an online application form which will have to be approved. 

The Commission said on Tuesday the “vast majority of cases (expected to be over 95%) will result in automatic approval”.

“In limited cases, where further checks on the traveller are needed, the issuing of the travel authorisation could take up to 30 days,” the EU Commission says

The ETIAS authorisation will be a €7 one-off fee, and will be valid for three years as well as for multiple entries into Schengen states during that time. 

Applicants will be able to apply via an official website and/or app for mobile devices, the Commissions says.

Which countries are affected?

In general, visas are required for entry to EU countries for non-EU nationals. 

But a visa is not needed for visits of up to 90 days in an 180‑day period for nationals of countries for which the European Community has abolished the visa requirement. That includes the UK, the US, Canada and Australia, among others. 

At the moment for instance, British passport holders who do not hold a residence title in an EU country, can enter Europe for short visits and tourist trips without having to pay a fee or organise a visa – although Covid restrictions have made travel a lot trickier. 

The EU Commission said the ETIAS will not change “which non-EU countries are subject to a visa requirement and will also not introduce a new visa requirement for nationals of countries that are visa-exempt”.

When will it happen?

We haven’t got an exact date yet but the EU Commission says it will happen by the end of 2022. 

The date from which travellers will be able to apply will be published on this site.

According to the EU “ETIAS will be a largely automated IT system created to identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors travelling to the Schengen States, whilst at the same time facilitate crossing borders for the vast majority of travellers who do not pose such risks.”

Member comments

    1. It’s to “identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors”.
      Funny how “high epidemic risks” has now been added in.
      The ETIAS tax-raising data-gathering idea has been in existence, long before Covid. So the excuse du jour, which was formerly “health and safety” and then “security” and now “Covid” for everything, has now been added in.

      So it’s a visa.
      If you want a visa then make it a visa.

    2. When the USA started requiring ESTA approvals for the EU, the EU warned that they would reciprocate. That is ETIAS. The rest of the world is incidental to this.

  1. If UK reciprocates, will that mean those arriving from France by dinghy ( without a pre-visa visa ) can be returned ?

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TOURISM

What to know when visiting France’s lavender fields this summer

Known affectionately as 'blue gold,' France’s lavender fields are a popular tourist attraction every year. Here is what you need to know about visiting them:

What to know when visiting France's lavender fields this summer

Lavender is the “soul of Provence,” the French region where the fields can be found. Like wine, lavender was brought to France around 2,000 years ago by the Romans. The flower is the emblem of ‘Haute Provence’ regional identity, though the fields stretch from just outside of Nice almost all the way up to Valence, and they are not fully exclusive to France.

Even the washerwomen, those whose job it was to clean clothes and linen, were referred to as les lavandières in France. 

The flowers, which can be found mainly in two species in Provence, have several uses – as oils for cooking and bathing, as a perfume for soaps, and even as an antiseptic for healing wounds and scars.

The lavender essential oil that comes from Provence is even an AOP (L’Appellation d’origine protégée) in France. 

When is the best time to see the fields?

Typically, the lavender flowers from around mid-June to early-to-mid August. However, depending on the weather, especially if there is a drought or hotter temperatures, the lavender might flower sooner than normal, which is likely the case for this year.

This is unfortunately also a side effect of climate change, which might be pushing up the lavender flowering season.

Where should I go?

The Valensole plateau is perhaps the most famous place to go for lavender fields. Speckled with several small Provencal towns, the area is beautiful, with a mountainous backdrop in the distance. If you go here, you might also be able to see the sunflower fields too.

Sault is perhaps a bit less known, partially because due to its altitude, the lavender typically flowers a bit later.

It is still a great place to go see the fields, and every year the town hosts a Lavender Festival in August. Walking (or cycling) between the villages (Aurel, Saint-Trinit and Saint-Christol) is very manageable.

This is not too far from the Sénanque Abbey, a medieval 12th century abbey which is surrounded by lavender fields. You might notice some small stone houses called bories in the fields, which were historically used for field workers.

Luberon Valley is another location that comes highly recommended. In the area, there is a regional national park, home to rosé wines, castles (chateaux) and charming villages, like Gordes, a stunning hilltop village.

Here you can also find the Musée de la Lavande, if you are looking to learn more about harvesting, producing and distilling lavender, its industry, and some interesting regional history.

How to get there?

You can take a TGV train to Aix-en-Provence or Avignon, or rent a car. With a car, you can also enjoy the several scenic routes that allow you to see the fields from the roads.

What else is there to do while in the region?

The area is also known for its rosé wine, so you could take the opportunity to go visit some vineyards or spend some time wine-tasting. 

In the summer months, the south of France can get quite warm. If you are looking to go swimming or enjoy the water, the Gorges du Verdon are not too far away. Though a bit of a tourist hotspot, the canyon is a beautiful and a wonderful place for paddling along in a canoe.

If you’re a fan of hiking, you can always go for a (light) hike along the Ochre Trail near Roussillon. Here, there are two marked paths that will take you through sunset-colored red and yellow cliffs in an old quarry.

Words of Wisdom

Unless you have been given express permission, do not pick the lavender, as this is the farmer’s livelihood. You can always buy a bouquet from nearby souvenir shops for your photo shoots! 

Also, stick to the paths that exist to avoid trampling any crops, and of course do not litter in the fields. 

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