The UKs minister for immigration says there is a likelihood Britons will have to pre-apply for entry permits when visiting European Union nations. Speaking to MPs, Robert Goodwill noted the EU was weighing up the pros and cons of the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation used in the US.
The minister carried on by saying that if the EU actually inaugurated something akin to the ESTA it remained to be seen how it would impact UK citizens once the Brexit divorce was finalised. He explained that Britons who had travelled to the US were accustomed to applying for and also paying for ESTAs.
The minister added that ESTAs, or similar vetting mechanisms, improved security as applicants had to satisfy information requirements or the authorisation would not be issued. The minister warned that entry applications would not just be restricted to those entering the EU by air because the same systems could be applied at ferry ports and land border immigration checkpoints.
Passport-holders of around 40 Visa Waiver Program nations can apply for ESTAs to visit the US. The cost of a standard ESTA is US$14 (11) and is valid for up to 90 days. The immigration-minister did point out that ESTAs were not limited to one journey.
Scottish National Party MP Alan Brown said that during the referendum campaign leave supporters had claimed Brits would not need visas or anything similar to visit EU nations. He said applying for any kind of visa or entry permit wasted time and money and was something people would have to do every time they wanted to go to the EU.