Two-thirds of Brits don’t know they will be charged to visit the EU from 2023

  • Brits will have to pay €7 per person for each visa-waiver to visit the Schengen Area under new EU rules that come into force in 2023, which could cost holiday makers collectively €275 million each year
  • Nine in ten (93 per cent) Brits have not heard of the ETIAS, European Travel Information and Authorization System, or were unsure about the details
  • More than four in five (82 per cent) holidaymakers say more should be done to publicise the visa-waiver


New research by Direct Line Travel Insurance reveals two-thirds (65 per cent) of Brits haven’t ever heard of the visa waiver scheme, ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System), which is scheduled to start in November 2023 for short-trips to the EU.1  Just seven  per cent of Brits know the cost and date for the introduction of the new visa-waiver, which suggests people could get caught-out by the new travel rules.

Millions of Brits will be required to apply for visa-waivers each year. In 2019, Brits made over 66.9 million visits to the EU.2 Under the new rules, based on one trip per year, this level of travel would see Brits paying the EU collectively a minimum of €275 million.3

Next year, Brits will need to complete online applications before travelling to the Schengen Area, costing €7 per person to obtain visa-waivers. The Schengen Area guarantees free movement for most EU countries and includes popular holiday destinations such as Spain, France, and Greece. However, as the UK sits outside of the area, Brits travelling abroad will need to pay the fare. The new travel rules are expected to come into force in November 2023. Each visa-waiver will remain valid for 90 days.

Direct Line Travel Insurance found 82 per cent of holidaymakers say more should be done to publicise the new travel rules. Almost two thirds (62 per cent) believe the EU and UK government should both be doing more to publicise the visa-waiver scheme, 13 per cent hold the EU solely responsible, with just 7 per cent holding the UK government solely responsible for additional publicity.

The findings also reveal that Brits are more likely to check the weather at their holiday destination than they are to check visa rules. Just over a third of Brits (36 per cent) check visa rules before booking a holiday, compared to 44 per cent who check the weather, 42 per cent who check COVID-19 restrictions, and 41 per cent who check the length of flight to their destination.

The majority of holidaymakers will not be put off travelling abroad by the new travel rules, despite the cost. The price would need to rise to nearly €29 per person per visa-waiver before it would deter British holidaymakers from booking a trip to Europe.

Tom Bishop, Head of Direct Line Travel Insurance said: “Low awareness of the EU visa-waiver scheme is concerning and shows there is not enough education around the new rules. People feel the authorities should be doing more to publicise the visa-waiver scheme. It seems sensible to use the remaining months until the new rules come into force to ensure people know about the visa-waiver, including how and when to apply. This would be especially relevant for those travellers with limited online access who may not have access to finding this information as easily as others. Further clarity would provide peace of mind for people planning their next holiday abroad.”

Notes to editors:

(1)     Survey of 2000 UK Adults conducted by Opinium on behalf of Direct Line Group between 30/09/22 – 04/10/22

(2)     Additional travel data sourced by the Office for National Statistics:

(3)     Survey of 2000 UK Adults conducted by Opinium on behalf of Direct Line Group between 30/09/22 – 04/10/22;

a.       75% of those surveyed travel abroad

b.       75% of adult population (52,890,044 million adults, ONS population estimates data) x €7 = €277,672,731



For further information, please contact:

Ewan Robertson
Head of News and Issues – Direct Line  

Email: [email protected]

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting