British travellers and citizens from another 59 countries, including Australia and the US, will be able to apply for admission to the European Union and stay for up to 90 days if they have a valid passport.
The proposal for the ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) has now been formalised by Brussels. This means that eligible travellers wishing to enter the EU Schengen area will have to go online, fill in a form with their personal details and pay €7 (£6.20) from the end of next year (2022).
According to the proposal from the European Commission, passengers must reveal “whether they are subject to any disease with epidemic potential….or other infectious or contagious parasitic disease”. This may include a requirement to prove Covid immunity upon arrival.
The proposal says:
“ETIAS will not change which non-EU countries are subject to a visa requirement and will also not introduce a new visa requirement for nationals of countries that are visa-exempt.
“Visa-exempt non-EU nationals will only need a few minutes to fill in an online application which in a vast majority of cases (expected to be over 95 per cent) will result in automatic approval.”
The ETIAS authorisation lasts for three years and allows multiple trips across different countries in the bloc. The EU will use the information given by arrivals to carry out security checks and checks against its existing migration, police and security databases.
The ETIAS has been in the works since 2016, when President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said:
“We need to know who is crossing our borders. This way we will know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here”
is similar to the US ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), which permits citizens from 39 countries a 90-day visa-free stay.
The UK government has said that it too is considering a similar visa waiver system for non-British nationals to enter on pre-screening. However, this is unlikely to happen until 2024.
More info: Schengen Visa Info