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ETIAS: EU postpones launch of €7 visa waiver for tourists

The EU has postponed the start date of its €7 ETIAS visa waiver for tourists - due to come into effect later this year - until 2024.

ETIAS: EU postpones launch of €7 visa waiver for tourists
Photo by ERIC PIERMONT / AFP

The ETIAS visa waiver system requires that all tourists and visitors from non-EU countries register online in advance for the €7 travel authorisation, which lasts for three years.

It was due to come into effect in November but, as reported in British newspaper The Independent, the start date has now been changed by the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs at the European Commission in Brussels.

Prospective visitors to the EU from non-EU countries such as the UK, USA and Canada are now told: “It is expected that the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias) will be operational in 2024.”

This comes after the EU’s EES system – which will bring in stricter biometric border checks for travellers – was postponed from May 2023 until “the end of the year”.

You can read a full explanation of how EES and ETIAS work HERE.

Both systems were originally due to be introduced in 2021, but were postponed because of the pandemic. They were then scheduled to come into effect in May (for EES) and November (for ETIAS) 2023.

However, there has been pushback from member states who say they are not ready, while major fears have been raised about the effect of enhanced EES checks on the UK-France border, which has already seen long queues at peak times since Brexit.

Bosses at Eurotunnel, the Port of Dover and Eurostar have all raised concerns about long delays due to the extra time needed to make the enhanced checks at the border.

John Keefe, chief corporate and public affairs officer for Eurotunnel, told The Independent: “As a concept, EES/ETIAS is a step closer to the smart, digital border that we would all like to see operating in the future.

“But it is important that when it is introduced it is fully functional, has been thoroughly tested and that the introduction is progressive to allow both operators and travellers to familiarise themselves with the new requirements.”

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OSLO

How much does a city break in Oslo cost in 2024? 

Norway's capital, and the country in general, has a reputation as a costly place to live and visit. So, how much should you expect to put away for a city break in Oslo? 

How much does a city break in Oslo cost in 2024? 

Oslo is pretty small for a European capital, but plenty of people are still attracted to the city. 

Its size also makes it perfect for a short city break or somewhere to spend a few days before heading off to see other parts of the country. 

The city combines world-class museums, stunning modern architecture, classic Scandinavian charm, nature, and a growing food and nightlife scene into one package. 

READ MORE: How to spend 24 hours in the Norwegian capital 

Accommodation

As the capital, there is no shortage of hotels, and you should find something to match your budget. 

If you are after a pretty standard hotel, located fairly centrally, then you can expect to pay between 1,000 and 1,700 kroner per night depending on availability and whether it’s peak season. Prices may sometimes stretch beyond or dip slightly under this figure. 

As a rule of thumb, hotels tailored towards business and conferences are more expensive mid-week, and more holiday-focused hotels cost more at weekends. 

If you want to do things on a budget, consider a hostel. There are a number dotted around Oslo, and these range between 600 to 1,000 kroner per night. 

At the opposite end of the scale, you could opt for a more premium five-star hotel if you want your trip to feel more special. 

These tend to start at around 2,500 kroner per night. However, you could be expected to pay about 4,000 kroner (and in some cases much more), depending on when you wish to book. 

Eating out

Eating out will be considerably more expensive than most other places in Europe. 

If breakfast isn’t included at the hotel, then you can expect to pay north of 100 kroner for a coffee and pastry (per person) from a bakery or coffee shop. 

You can expect to pay around 1,500 kroner daily for lunch and dinner. Although, you could get away with paying less. 

Places like Oslo Street Food and Mathallen are popular with locals and tourists and offer plenty of options for grabbing a bite to eat for between 200 and 250 kroner per person.

A light lunch costs between 85 and 150 kroner for a dish, while something more sit down would cost between 140 and 250 kroner. 

A main course would come in at 175-300 kroner in a lot of mid-level restaurants in the city. 

Eating like a local can help save you some real money. Bakeries like Bakcstube are great for a quick lunch for under 100 kroner. 

Meanwhile, hotdogs are extremely popular. You can buy a hotdog in any convenience store for around 55 kroner. The Syver kiosk is considered the most iconic place to get a hotdog among locals, though, so it may be worth a visit. 

If hotdogs aren’t your thing, you could consider a large slice of pizza from Mad Love in Grønland, one of the city’s best pizza places, for slightly more than the cost of a hotdog. 

If the weather is good, you could always order a pizza and enjoy it in one of the city’s many fantastic green spaces rather than splash out for a sit-down meal. Sushi is also extremely popular in Oslo. 

If coming to Oslo to eat pizza, hot dogs, and sushi sounds like a waste, you could try Dovrehallen, Schøder or Kaffistova as budget-friendly Norwegian cuisine options. 

READ ALSO: Where are the best places to try traditional Norwegian food in Oslo?

If you want to push the boat out a little bit, but are still semi-conscious of price, then the Michelin star French restaurant Mon Oncle offers an a la carte menu. Another Michelin-star restaurant, Hyde, offers three courses for 600 kroner per person at its bar on Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

Drinks in Oslo range. There are several cheap places to grab a beer. There are also a number of excellent bars that sell beer in the 80-98 kroner range (which can be considered reasonable for Oslo). 

There is an emerging craft beer scene, and there are several options, such as Crow, Schous Kjelleren, and Grünerløkka Brygghus (all three happen to be within walking distance too). A premium option or craft beer can easily cost between 110 and 130 kroner. 

Wine ranges depending on the quality (and how much the bar wants to mark it up), but expect to pay more than 100 kroner a glass and around 500-600 a bottle. 

Transport

Oslo is a great place to walk about, but if you get tired, there’s a metro, ferry, tram and bus network. Single tickets that last an hour are 42 kroner. 

Daily tickets cost 127 kroner. You can use a ticket for more than one transport method, so you can even get out onto the fjords and see the islands for the cost of two single tickets (one to get out there and one to get back). 

Getting to and from the airport will cost around 200-300 kroner each way if taking the airport express train or bus.  

Activities and attractions 

Oslo is home to many excellent museums, and entry typically costs between 130 and 180 kroner. The Fram Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, Munch Museum, Nobel Peace Centre, National Museum, and Norwegian Cultural History Museum are all excellent options. 

Saunas have grown in popularity in Oslo, and now several options exist. At the moment, some of the most popular are fjord-side saunas. A session will cost around 160-200 kroner per session. 

Plenty of the best things to do in Oslo, like visiting Vigeland Park, hiking in the forest, and walking along the Akerselva, are all completely free.  

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