European travel authorisation system starts soon

Stock image of airport passport checks, referencing European travel authorisation system

European authorities have announced the implementation of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), a platform where most non-European visitors will have to register and pay a €7 fee to enter any of the 26 European countries included in the programme. 

ETIAS is similar to the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorisation entry approval system. Non-European travellers will have to register online, fill out a form, and complete an electronic process in order to enter the European Schengen Zone and stay for up to 90 days.

The countries that will require ETIAS for certain travellers are Austria, Belgium, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Neither the UK nor Ireland are or will be included.

Once ETIAS is live, third-country nationals planning to visit Europe will need to apply for entry permission. It will be fully operational by May 2023. Applying for the visa waiver will not be mandatory right away. ETIAS registration will become mandatory in 2023.

To apply for ETIAS, foreign nationals must be from a visa-exempt country and be visiting Europe for tourism, business, or transit, which includes medical tourism. The maximum stay allowed with ETIAS is 90 days per 180-day period.

ETIAS will be valid for three years and for multiple trips to Europe. People who apply during the transition period will be able to use the permit for the next three years unless their passport expires.

This new measure applies to US citizens and another 62 nationalities that usually don’t need visas for tourism.