Britons facing EU tourism fee post-Brexit

European sources say Brussels planning to make visitors from UK complete online applications

(Image credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

British tourists who want to visit Continental Europe following Brexit may face a mandatory fee and online application process, according to reports.

The claim comes after Theresa May announced on Monday at the Conservative Party Conference that Europeans seeking to visit the UK on holiday post-Brexit would “have to submit to security and criminal records checks before they arrive”.

An anonymous source in Brussels told The Times that the British prime minister’s plan would “automatically result in British citizens having to participate in the European Union’s new travel authorisation system”, due to come into effect in 2021.

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May’s proposal is widely viewed as an attempt to streamline access to the UK for citizens of so-called “low-risk countries”, Sky News reports. “EU citizens currently get fast-tracked through e-gates while tourists or businessmen from countries like Japan and Australia have to queue for passport control,” the news site explains.

Talking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this week, the PM said: “The question of business travel, of tourism, will be part of negotiations. We’ve put forward a proposal which is based on a reciprocal arrangement. We’re looking to negotiate movement of people for those purposes.”

But the EU source told The Times that British citizens may have to apply online before being allowed to travel, along with paying a €7 (£6.20) fee for authorisation lasting up to three years.

“The system is similar to that used in the United States,” the newspaper adds.

The source said: “The new migration regime is for the UK to set. We have two principles in this: reciprocity and also non-discrimination between EU nationals.”

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, has criticised the UK government’s plans to end freedom of movement and adopt a skills-based migration system, under which low-skilled EU citizens would be excluded from coming to work in the UK.

“We will never accept discrimination based on skills and nationality,” he said. “We will never give in and undermine the principles of our union. We will never undermine the principles of the European project to rescue a political party in Britain who is not even capable to find a common line on the exit of the mess Brexit.”

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