A new €7 (£6) ESTA-style security system has been given the green light by the European Parliament.
The ETIAS scheme aims to screen proposed entrants to EU member states in the Schengen area.
Should the system be adopted by the European Council, ETIAS could be operational by the end of 2021.
The charge will apply to “visa-exempt third country nationals” travelling to the Schengen area, which could include the UK if no exemption is agreed as part of the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
The European Parliament on Thursday (July 5) also signed off a wide-ranging upgrade to eu-LISA, its agency for management of large-scale IT systems.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, said: “A stronger eu-LISA will be the nerve centre of our information systems for borders, migration and security, and the new ETIAS will ensure that we no longer have an information gap on visa-free travellers.
“Anyone who poses a migratory or security risk will be identified before they even travel to EU borders, while the travel of bona fide travellers will be facilitated.”
The EU says travellers agree between 18 and 70 will be able to apply for ETIAS authorisation online in 10 minutes, with 95% of applications likely to be approved automatically. Authorisation then remains valid for three years.