UK tourists could be charged €7 just to visit Europe

British travellers could be forced to pay the levy after Brexit
British travellers could be forced to pay the levy after Brexit
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The European Union is pushing ahead with plans to charge travelers from outside the single market a €7 "travel authorisation fee".

The levy would be part of a new system of checks aimed at improving security on the European Union's borders.

UK travelers may be hit by the plans which would apply to all visa-exempt countries outside the EU. The only exceptions would be Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein which are part of the European Economic Area.

Under the new rules, people entering the Schengen area will need to fill out an online form before travelling to apply for authorisation as well as pay the fee.

Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out remaining in the single market and said the free movement of people will end after Brexit.

The EU's Brexit negotiating team has said the application of the scheme to the UK will be part of discussions.

"Today's agreement is another important step in protecting the EU's external borders," said Valentin Radev, the interior minister for Bulgaria which is currently chairing the European Council.

"By knowing who is coming to the EU before they even arrive at the border, we will be better able to stop those who may pose a threat to our citizens."

The applications would be checked against the EU police and Interpol databases. Countries which already need visas to travel to Europe will not be covered because tighter restrictions are already in place on them. A person's Travel authorisation would remain valid for three years or until their passport expires.

The scheme would apply to the whole Schengen passport-less area meaning people travelling to countries such as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland would also be affected.

Catherine Bearder, a Liberal Democrat MEP said: “The fact that Brits will now have to pay to visit the EU was never on the ballot paper in the referendum.

“Voters should have a say on whether this is really what they wanted or if they’ve changed their minds. That’s why I support the People’s Vote campaign.”

The European Parliament will now vote on the proposals.

Written by Joshua King