The European Union have confirmed the introduction of the ETIAS program that will become operational in early 2021. ETIAS stands for EU Travel Information & Authorisation System. Travellers visiting Europe from 2021 onwards will be required to obtain an approved ETIAS online prior to their departure. With over 37 million visitors to Europe each year, the introduction of ETIAS is expected to have a significant impact on traveller plans from all over the world.
Which travellers are affected?
All visitors who previously travelled visa-free to Europe, such as visitors from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many others, will need an approved ETIAS to enter any ETIAS member country such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain along with other ETIAS member countries.
All travellers, regardless of age, will be required to obtain an ETIAS, and the authorization will be valid for 3 years or until the date of passport expiry.
What's the purpose of ETIAS?
This strict new requirement for a European electronic travel authorization is in response to the increasing terrorist threat within Europe, with the aim of strengthening border controls and checks on all visitors prior to their arrival. The move will see passengers questioned about their travel plans within Europe.
Any traveller who fails to obtain an ETIAS will not be permitted to board a plane or cruise ship to an ETIAS member country.
Airlines and cruise operators will be responsible for checking the validity of each passenger's ETIAS at check-in, and boarding will be denied if a valid ETIAS cannot be produced.
What is the ETIAS application process?
Passengers will be required to complete an online application form that covers a range of biometric, travel and security related questions. The ETIAS application will then be electronically processed within 96 hours, and the authorisation delivered by email.
Passenger data will be checked against a variety of European and International databases including no fly lists, to identify potential terrorist and criminal threats who will then be refused entry via the ETIAS program. It is expected that most applications will be processed within 1 hour if no further checks are required.
Visitors with a valid ETIAS will be able to travel to ETIAS member countries. This group includes the majority of popular European tourist and business destinations such as France, Germany, Spain, Italy and 18 other countries.
Where can I learn more?
To stay up to date and for further information about the ETIAS program including news, launch updates and travel alerts, please visit etias.com