Home Travel News Q&A: What is ETIAS: European Travel Authorization System visa waiver program?

Q&A: What is ETIAS: European Travel Authorization System visa waiver program?

You will need a visa waiver to enter the EU in 2023 if you travel from one of the 59 "ETIAS Eligible" countries

by Sharron Livingston

QI was planning to visit Germany next autumn and surely will try to visit Berlin too. It has historical values, and Brandenburg gate is one of the places I want to see. As I’m planning the tour for next year, I came across that some new rules will be applied, and I’ll be needing a Visa as I’m not from an EU country. Can you confirm these new rules are to be applied and when?

A British travellers and citizens from another 58 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. 


What is ETIAS?

ETIAS, also known as the European Travel Information and Authorization System, is a new visa waiver. It’s a bit like the US waiver system.

It has been in the works since 2016 and is now 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 details and pay an estimated €7 from the end of next year – 2023.

No date has been released though you can follow a link to be notified on their EtiasVisa website. 

The proposal says:

“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.”

“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.

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.

Why is ETIAS coming into being?

In 2016 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”

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 if at all.

When will ETIAS become mandatory?

As yet no date has been released, but it is expected to become live at the end of 2023. To stay on the safe side, you can follow a link to be notified on their EtiasVisa website. 

In the meantime, citizens travelling from ETIAS Eligible Countries can enter the EU without a visa.

To apply online for an ETIAS waiver you will need:

  • A valid passport
  • An email
  • A credit or debit card
  • Be able to supply full name, date of birth and country of residence
  • Be able to provide answers to health questions

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