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Will We Need Visas To Visit Europe Soon?

Photo: Unsplash.
Leave campaigners assured us Brexit could make our lives easier, getting rid of pesky European bureaucracy, or "red tape". But travelling to Europe could soon become a whole lot more complicated.

British citizens may soon be required to pay for visas when travelling to European countries once the UK leaves the European Union.

EU membership currently means free movement within the Union and fast-track passport control queues, but under a new system British citizens may have to apply online 72 hours before they travel and pay a £10 fee (or even up to £50), if proposals being drafted by the European Commission come into force.

The Commission's plans are part of a wider programme looking at increasing security across Europe after recent terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, The Guardian reported.

Draft legislation for the new EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias), based on the U.S. ESTA scheme, which requires visitors to the U.S. to pay $14 (£11) and fill out a form, will be revealed later this year.

If the UK government manages to negotiate a Brexit deal similar to Norway's or Switzerland's with regard to free movement, there is a chance British citizens wouldn't be subjected to the Etias system, reported The Guardian.

The UK could strengthen its own border regulations in response to the European Commission's proposals, it has been suggested, for example by introducing an online system for all visitors.

In an interview with Andrew Marr yesterday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said any restrictions introduced by the EU on British citizens would affect the UK's approach to EU nationals.

Talking about the EU's visa plans, Rudd said: "I don't think it's particularly desirable, but we don't rule it out, because we have to be allowed a free hand to get the best negotiations. It's a reminder that this is a two-way negotiation," reported the Daily Mail.

"The EU and the Commissioners may be considering alternatives – they will be considering their negotiations with us, just as we are considering it with them."

She added: "But I am going to make sure that what we do get is in the best interests of the UK."