ETIAS: What we know about the European ESTA so far


ETIAS: What we know about the European ESTA so far

Brussels from above

Travelling to the Schengen will require a piece of mandatory paperwork for non-EU nationals from a yet-to-be-announced date at the end of 2024.

Get used to hearing the term European Travel Information and Authorisation System, or ETIAS for short, as that’s what will be required for travelling to Europe in the future.

It’s not a Europe visa but works as a pre-security check; similar to the ESTA that’s needed to visit the USA.

While all the details are being ironed out, here’s what we know so far including: 

  • How to get an ETIAS  
  • When ETIAS comes into effect.
What is an ETIAS?   

The European Commission (EC) first floated the idea of an ETIAS back in 2016. It has two purposes to fill information and security gaps from visa-free travellers. Firstly, ETIAS acts as a screening tool to check visa-free travellers, spotting security risks and preventing illegal immigration. And secondly, the pre-check will facilitate smoother border crossings for travellers that don’t pose a risk.   


Who needs an ETIAS  

All non-EU nationals who do not need a Schengen visa will need to fill in an ETIAS application before they travel to the EU.   


What does Schengen mean? 

Schengen Area signifies a zone where 26 European countries, abolished their internal borders, for the free and unrestricted movement of people, in harmony with common rules for controlling external borders and fighting criminality by strengthening the common judicial system and police cooperation. 

Schengen Area covers most of the EU countries, except Ireland and the countries that are soon to be part of the Schengen Area: Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Croatia. Although not members of the EU, countries like Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are also part of the Schengen zone. 


What is a Schengen visa? 

The short-stay visa is a Schengen visa. It allows you to stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. Your visa will be valid for a specific period. This period may be shorter than 90 days. You can travel freely between the 26 Schengen countries while your visa is valid. 


How to apply for an ETIAS   

ETIAS will be mandatory. Travellers will need to fill in the form online to receive travel authorisation via email; the EC expects 95% of cases will be authorised within minutes. Filling in the application should take no more than 10 minutes and should not require documentation beyond a passport or equivalent. Where further checks are needed, travel authorisation could take up to 30 days. If required, a traveller will be denied entry.    

The ETIAS will be checked along with passports/travel documents when crossing the EU border, and airlines will be required to check authorisations.   

ETIAS will be valid for three years (or until the passport/travel document expires) and for an unlimited number of entries.   

The authorisation does not collect biometric data and gathers less information than a visa application process.   

Travellers will be refused entry if they don’t have an approved ETIAS.   


How much does ETIAS cost?  

€7 (aprox AUD $12.50) per application for applicants aged 18-70.   


Can I apply for ETIAS now?  

Applications are not open yet so travellers don’t need to do anything for now.  

ETIAS is expected to be in operation by the end of 2024. When announced by the European Commission, more information will be available on this page.   


Caution: scam websites  

Applications are not open yet, so travellers don’t need to do anything for now. Be careful of websites appearing to offer this service. 

Need help with European travel? Let's talk 

By proceeding, I agree to the website terms of use and to my personal information being handled in accordance with the privacy notice accessible below