Delayed passengers
Home secretary Amber Rudd raised the possibility of visa fees for Britons in Europe and EU citizens coming to the UK, under Brexit terms over borders still to be negotiated Oli Scarff/Getty

British tourists may have to pay visa fees to visit European Union countries as ministers get set to tackle the issue of post-Brexit border controls. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she could not rule out such fees to enter the EU and pointed out that the UK was in a "two way negotiation" with the EU over the terms of Brexit.

"I don't think it's particularly desirable but we don't rule it out because we have to be allowed a free hand to give the best negotiation," she told the BBC.

A Schengen visa for an adult currently costs €60 (£50) and Brussels is looking at creating a visa waiver programme similar to the Esta scheme used by the US.

Named the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias), it would apply to travellers entering the EU whereby Britons would be treated like residents of any other non-EU country and apply online in advance and pay a fee.

Currently, people from a number of non-EU countries do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area. Etias is aimed at these "third-country nationals", which could include the UK after Brexit.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron told Sky News: "The British Government need to stop with the empty mantras and get into the detail of arrangements which will affect the holiday and work plans of millions of British people."

Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary, said the scheme, which is reportedly being considered by EU officials as part of changes to border security, would add £50 to the cost of a family break.

He said: "This is yet another example of the drift and confusion as a result of the Government's failure to plan for Brexit. Ministers should not just accept there's a cost of £50 for the average family to go on holiday.

"The Home Secretary's words will not have reassured ordinarily families about the cost of Brexit. She seems to be sympathetic to an idea that will put a flat £50 tax on the average family holiday in Europe."

A Home Office source told the Telegraph: "We want to get the best outcome possible for the UK but we can't rule anything out because we don't know what might happen."

The Home Office confirmed that it the Border Force was looking to introducing a fast-track passport system which may mean that travellers can skip long queues for prices ranging from £5 to £17.50.

However, the Public and Commercial Services Union poured scorn on the proposal with a spokesman telling the Times: "This is a ridiculous idea that exposes just how understaffed are borders are. What happens if everyone opts to pay £5? We're back to square one."