Slovenia is a member of both Schengen and the E.U. The ETIAS system will be implemented in 2024 as the system will need to be approved by all the Schengen states and infrastructure must be paid for and installed before it can be officially introduced. It is aimed at gathering information and pre-authorising the group of travellers who presently do not need a visa to enter Europe, yet are not Europeans themselves, or at least not E.U. or Schengen citizens.
The information obtained from the online ETIAS application forms will be shared with all authorities across Schengen and it is hoped that it will reduce the perceived security risks that are apparent in some parts of Europe.
What is the difference between Schengen and the E.U.?
They are two separate but inter related groups of counties. There are 26 Schengen members. The Schengen Agreement was made independently of E.U. immigration rules and solely covers who can go where in the Schengen zone. It allows freedom of movement in each other’s countries and makes entry into any of the Schengen member states by non Europeans uniform.
One advantage for a non European is that it cuts down the amount of red tape when moving from one Schengen European country to another. Once you are in the first Schengen country you can go to any of the others for a maximum total of 90 days.
Where is Slovenia and is it worth visiting?
Slovenia is a small country just to the east of Trieste in Italy and neighbours Austria in the North and Croatia to the south east. It has always had strong links with Western Europe and was the first of the Yugoslavian former republics to break away and seek independence.
Slovenia doesn’t have the beautiful coastline that Croatia has, but it does stretch up towards the Alps from the South. Ljubljana, the capital, is worth visiting, if only to check out the National Museum, which is large and has interesting displays and dates back to 1821.
Much of Slovenia’s mountainous interior is limestone country and is full of intriguing caves, waterfalls and hidden lakes.
Will an ETIAS be necessary for travel to Slovenia?
It is not a current requirement to hold an ETIAS for EU Schengen travel, even if you are a national of one of the critical group of visa waiver countries that will be affected by ETIAS. The E.U. Commission has reported that ETIAS will probably start in early 2024 after all the necessary infrastructure has been put in place and after approval has been obtained from member states. The cost of the ETIAS application will be €7. If approved, an ETIAS will last 3 years or until the date of passport expiry, whichever date comes sooner.
Once ETIAS is up and running and you want to visit one of the Schengen countries or several of them you may only need to apply online if you do not need a visa right now and you are not European yourself or hold an E.U. or Schengen passport. Many people who currently do need to get a Schengen visa in advance will not be eligible for ETIAS and must continue applying for Schengen Visas.