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 in 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: 

  • What an ETIAS is. 
  • When ETIAS will be implemented. 
  • Whether you can apply for an ETIAS now.
Warning: 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.


What is an ETIAS?

The European Commission (EC) first floated the idea back in 2016. It has two purposes as a travel information and authorisation system for visa-free travellers. Firstly, the authorisation acts as a screening tool to check visa-free travellers, spotting potential 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 will need an ETIAS? 

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


How it will work

The authorisation will be mandatory. Travellers will need to fill in the form online to receive travel ETIAS authorisation via email address; 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 applications 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 is an ETIAS?

€7 per application for applicants aged 18-70.


When does ETIAS come into effect?

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

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


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