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European Countries Will Soon Start Requiring Inbound Travelers Pay a Fee Prior to Travel

by Daniel McCarthy 

Starting next year, inbound travelers to EU countries will be required to pay a fee as part of the bloc’s new visa waiver program called European Travel Informational and Authorization System (ETIAS).

The program, which had been floated as far back as 2016, will require all non-Europeans, including those in the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada, to obtain an electronic travel permit ahead of arrival. The requirement extends to all travelers who do not need a visa prior to travel.

The permit will cost each applicant 7 euros (around $7.40 US or $9.55 CAD) and will be valid for travel to Europe for three years.

A website for ETIAS says that the process shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes and that 95% of applicants will get approved within minutes. Travelers will only need a passport in order to apply (along with a credit card or debit card to submit the payment) and no biometric data will be collected during the process.

According to the ETIAS website, the program “will allow the European Union to determine the eligibility of citizens from the visa waiver countries or ETIAS eligible countries. Applicants will have to complete an ETIAS registration before traveling to Europe, and the information provided will be pre-screened to detect security, health, or migration risks.”

If an application is refused, travelers may be asked to provide additional documentation, which they will have to do within 96 hours. In cases where an application is fully denied, they will have the right to appeal.

The U.S. requires a similar procedure to be completed as part of its Visa Waiver Program. The U.S. version, called Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA, is required for anyone boarding a plane or vessel bound for the U.S. According to Homeland Security, “In most instances, ESTA applicants will receive real-time notification on the disposition of their application to travel to the United States.”

The ESTA costs applicants $21 US.

8 Hacks You Need to Know Whenever You’re Using Foreign Currency

 Scott Laird 

Sidestep high exchange rates and pesky international transaction fees with these pro tips.

One of the fun parts of traveling to another country is getting used to the local monetary system. If nothing else, local banknotes (which are most often not uniformly green like in the States) are a colorful reminder that you’re not in Kansas anymore. However, foreign currency comes with its own share of complications: unfavorable exchange rates, leftover notes and coins, hefty exchange fees when using credit cards, and more. Doing some research on the currency before leaving home and following a couple of simple universal rules on acquiring and disposing of foreign currency can add value and convenience to any international journey.

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Find Out How Foreign Currency Will Hit Your Debit Card

Debit cards can be tricky to use outside the United States. There are often additional flat or percentage fees applicable to transactions at points of sale outside the United States (for debit cards issued by U.S. banks). Many countries have more stringent requirements on card transactions (such as chip-and-pin or contactless capabilities) and often offer less-than-favorable exchange rates.

As a general rule, the purchase protections provided by credit cards make them a better choice for transactions outside the United States, while debit cards are still good for getting cash at foreign ATMs. Frequent travelers may benefit from maintaining a bank account specifically for foreign cash withdrawals by finding an account with a debit card that refunds ATM fees and doesn’t charge for foreign withdrawals. They can also be helpful if lost or stolen while traveling, keeping the main checking account untouched.


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