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 if you travel from the UK or any "ETIAS Eligible" countries

by Sharron Livingston

QWhat is ETIAS, European Travel Authorization System visa waiver program, and will I need one to travel to an EU country?


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 but applies to UK travellers heading to certain European countries who must fill in a new form before they travel. This system will pre-vet visitors for security purposes.

There’s to be a charge of €7 and the authorised document will be valid for three years and allow for multiple trips across different countries in the bloc.

Why is ETIAS coming into being?

Etias was dreamed up in 2016 and was supposed to be ready for 2023, then 2024 and now it is expected in 2025.

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 EU will use the information given by arrivals to carry out security checks against its existing migration, police and security databases. The UK government has said that it is also considering a similar visa waiver system for non-British nationals to enter on pre-screening. There has been no word on that yet.

When will ETIAS become mandatory?

We don’t have an exact date yet but it is expected to become live at the end of 2025. 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

More info: Schengen Visa Countries List 


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