EU: new rules for inbound travel for non-EU citizens

The European Commission has outlined new rules for the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), the EU’s electronic system due to launch in 2022 that will allow and keep track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone.

ETIAS will become completely effective and obligatory for travellers only by the end of 2022. In addition, it will be mandatory for all countries that are Schengen visa-free.

Once the system is in place, non-EU citizens travelling to the Schengen area who are exempt from the visa requirement will need to register and obtain authorisation before travelling. This will include travellers from the UK and USA.

The system will cross-check travellers against EU information systems for internal security, borders and migration before their trip, helping to identify ahead of time people who may pose a risk to security or health, as well as compliance with migration rules.

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 need to fill in an online application that in a vast majority of cases (expected to be over 95%) will result in automatic approval.

ETIAS authorisation will cost €7 (US$8.24), which will be a one-off fee, and will be valid for three years and for multiple entries.