Traveling to a new place is a fulfilling experience, but it can be hectic. Throughout the journey, it’s important to feel safe.
Guaranteeing safer and more efficient experiences encourages people to pursue their travel aspirations. The European Union and Schengen Area nations will be rolling out new travel protocols for entering their borders that aim to make the European travel experience safer and more efficient.
Explore the details of the ETIAS and how it may affect your travel plans.
What Is ETIAS?
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System, or the ETIAS system, is a travel security programme designed to increase immigration security into the European Union and Schengen Area nations.
The ETIAS is an electronic travel authorisation system that screens travelers from visa-exempt countries and issues them a visa waiver based on security standards for visa-free travel. For instance, British passport holders can stay for 90 days every 180 day-period for tourism or business purposes with ETIAS.
Based on its American equivalent, Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, ETIAS issues a visa waiver for travelers entering Europe; certain visa-free travelers may require an approved visa waiver to travel to Europe.
Why Was ETIAS Signed Into Law?
Europe encourages travel to the continent but is also compelled to ensure its security. The ETIAS does so by requiring pre-screening checks on citizens from select countries planning to visit Europe.
By collecting critical information about visa-free travelers before they enter the continent, European authorities can better understand who is coming into their home country and for what purpose. The safety protocols established by ETIAS requirements will keep Europe a safe place for its citizens and its visitors.
With the implementation of ETIAS in the European Union and Schengen Area nations, traveling to Europe will become a safer, more efficient process; you may encounter new guidelines to abide by to enter Europe.
When Was ETIAS Passed?
ETIAS was first proposed in September 2016 by the European Commission, one of the EU’s highest governing bodies.
After two years of deliberation over the specifics of the legislation, the final form of ETIAS, Regulation (EU) 2018/1240, was introduced on the European Parliament floor and passed on September 12th, 2018.
The passage of Regulation (EU) 2018/1240 in September 2018 only started the gradual implementation of ETIAS into European travel protocol. Sweeping legislation of this magnitude requires careful consideration before implementation.
When Does ETIAS Come Into Effect?
ETIAS is projected to come online officially in May 2023. From then on, travelers will have a six-month grace period to learn about and apply for ETIAS authorisation.
By November 2023, ETIAS is expected to fully come into effect after sufficient training of travel authority staff and active vetting of any potential technical system issues. Afterward, travelers will require ETIAS approval to enter participating European nations.
Apply for approval to ensure you can enter Europe when ETIAS officially comes online.
What Countries Will Be Affected by ETIAS?
ETIAS pertains to nationals from countries currently visa-exempt for entrance to the Europeans. That means if you are from a country that does not require a visa to visit Europe, you may be required to apply for ETIAS approval to enter participating nations in November 2023.
The European Union has a designation for certain visa-exempt countries that may require ETIAS authorisation: third-country nationals.
Third countries are neither member states in the European Union nor participants in the Schengen Area free travel bloc or European Free Trade Area.
Also categorized under Auction II by the E.U, third-country nationals make up the majority of travelers that could need ETIAS approval before entering Europe.
Visa-exempt non-EU countries that may require ETIAS for European travel include:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and Grenadines
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Timor Leste
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirate
- United Kingdom
- United States
If you are a citizen of any of these countries, you will require ETIAS approval before entering Europe by November 2023. For any questions about ETIAS, how it may affect you, and who needs it, learn more here.
What European Countries Will Require ETIAS?
Not every European country will require ETIAS authorisation to enter the country; not every country participating in the European Union will require ETIAS. If you are traveling to a Schengen Area country, you will likely need ETIAS to gain entrance.
Two key political organisations will help you understand who participates in ETIAS: the European Union and the Schengen Area.
What Is the European Union?
The European Union is a political and economic bloc consisting of 27 member states across Europe.
The governing bodies of the EU set supreme legal standards in the areas of commerce, justice, immigration, international travel, and more for the member states to follow. ETIAS, for example, was legislation agreed upon and signed by the 27 EU member states.
A defining characteristic of EU membership is privileged travel status; E.U. citizens must go to other member states. Most member states have unrestricted travel protocols when crossing borders; passports and border checks are not required for most intra-European transit, with a few exceptions.
The 27 European Union member states are:
- Czech Republic
What Is the Schengen Area?
The Schengen Area is a free travel agreement between 26 European nations. Signed into law in 1985, the Schengen Agreement established a new era of intra-European travel.
The Schengen Agreement outlined a freedom of travel bloc by removing passport requirements at border crossings between assenting nations. For example, the agreement virtually eliminated border checks between France and neighboring Germany, creating streamlined freedom of movement between all the members of the travel bloc.
Inside the Schengen Area, travel between the 26 participating nations is unrestricted for their citizens. Foreign travelers booking trips to the Schengen Area nations may be required to obtain a Schengen Visa for admittance if they are not approved for an ETIAS visa waiver.
These are the 26 Schengen Zone countries:
- Czech Republic
Learn more about the difference between Schengen visas and ETIAS visas here.
Exceptions In EU and Schengen Area Membership
Not all EU countries participate in the Schengen Area; not all Schengen Area participants are EU member states.
ETIAS may be required for travel into Schengen Area countries; these countries do not necessarily include members of the European Union. Countries that participate in the Schengen Area freedom of movement bloc that are not European Union members include:
Alternatively, there are European Union member states that are not Schengen countries and maintain their own visa program that may not require ETIAS to enter the country. These countries include:
- The Republic of Ireland
An ETIAS visa waiver will function for the same purposes as a Schengen visa with additional access to other nations.
What Information Does ETIAS Need?
ETIAS approval requires applicants to disclose personal information about themselves to determine their clearance for entrance into the inquiring country. You can expect to see this information on ETIAS’ application fields:
- Surname at birth; first name; surname (family name).
- Date of birth
- Country of birth
- Citizenship status
- Current residence
- Valid Passport / Travel document information
- Dual citizenship status
- Email address
- Telephone number
- Final destination member state
- Educational background
- Occupational background
The ETIAS application process will have numerous background questions you’ll need to fill out. These questions will include your medical conditions, criminal records, and recent trips to world conflict areas.
If the applicant is a minor, the guardian is responsible for filling out the pertinent information on the application form and including their personal information. For applications filled out on behalf of another person, the identity of the person filling out the application will be required.
Family members of EU citizens making an application will be required to list the identity of their family ties to the European Union.
How Can I Get My ETIAS?
An ETIAS online application form has a fee of seven euros; travelers 18 and under or 70 and older are exempt from the online application fee.
Getting your ETIAS authorization is a matter of filling out an application using appropriate channels. Mail and postal options are currently not accepted avenues for ETIAS applications. Electronic options are the best way to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver.
After payment using a debit or credit card, you’ll learn your approval status in minutes. ETIAS visa waivers are valid for three years; they’re the best way to ensure you can see all that Europe has to offer – apply today.