ETIAS stands for: European Travel Information and Authorisation System.
From the middle of 2025, the European Commission has plans to launch a US style electronic travel authorisation system (ETIAS). After it was first announced in 2016 by the European Commission. Although the negotiations are ongoing it’s important know that the ETIAS is not a visa. It’s a visa-waiver.
It will be like the USA’s ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). However, the ETIAS will be the EU’s, travel authorisation. Each person who doesn’t need a visa can explore Europe – for up to 90 days within a 180-day period at their leisure.
Primary it’s for travellers arriving to EU countries and Schengen Area countries from another country – that isn’t part of the European Union.
What’s the difference between an EU country and a Schengen Area country?
An EU country is one of 27 European countries/states that cover the majority of Europe. Together, they form the European Union.
The Schengen Area (from Estonia in the east and Portugal in the west) is border free. It covers 1,664,911 square miles and 27 European countries who allow passport-free movement of people. These countries also have a common visa policy, where you can stay in one of the states for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
Overall, the ETIAS will be a requirement for UK passport holders who wish to travel from the UK to parts of Europe (all European countries and the Schengen Area).
Which UK passport holders must apply for an ETIAS?
Anyone of any age needs to apply for an ETIAS. This includes British Nationals (Overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizens (BOTC), British Overseas Citizens (BOC), British Protected Persons (BPP) or British Subjects (BS). Also, individuals with a criminal record must apply as well.
An ETIAS for British Citizens
Although most British Citizens aren’t a threat to EU security, the EU is introducing an ETIAS to strengthen the border security of the Schengen area.
The ETIAS system will collect, check data and security credentials of each visitor. This will occur before their visit. Whether they’re visiting for business, pleasure, or transit purposes. Alongside digitally screening and tracking each visitor who arrives/ departs from each EU country – when travelling by car, coach, ferry, or airplane.
Overall, the ETIAS will form a central pool of data of all non-Europeans visiting the Schengen area. Also, there will be a fee required to obtain one.
How much will an ETIAS cost?
An ETIAS costs nothing if you’re under 18 or over 70. On the other hand, the price of an ETIAS for everyone else will be €7. Whatever your age, all travellers will require one.
However, each ETIAS will work for three years from the date issued to you – or until the date your passport expires. With this in mind, it will be wise to check the expiry date on your passport before going through this application process.
How to apply for an ETIAS
Visit the ETIAS official website. Your application should then be approved within minutes of submitting the online form.
Your data will be checked, by the following:
- The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS)
- Visa Information System (VIS)
- EUROPOL Data Protections and Transparency
- Stolen and Lost Travel Documents
- EU’s asylum fingerprint database (EURODAC)
- The European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS)
Plus, the ETIAS screening rules and ETIAS watchlist.
Although the ETIAS won’t go live until mid 2025 apply for yours before arriving in your chosen EU country. If more checks are needed, the process will take 96 hours. So, don’t leave applying for one until the night before your trip – just in case!
Can we apply now?
UK citizens can apply for an ETIAS in 2025. Submit your name and email on the ETIAS website to receive the exact launch date.
Bare in mind that there may be a short hiatus between three-six months when an ETIAS might not even be mandatory for EU travel. This should allow for any system issues to be refigured. Plus, a lesser impact upon travellers during the EITAS’s initial roll-out stage.
Travelling to Europe
If you or someone you know is in the process of planning a European holiday don’t forget to add an ETIAS to the list to travel around Europe, with confidence.
To learn more about the EU’s visa-waiver visit the Schengen Visa Info Website.
To travel, with confidence find one of P J Hayman’s Travel Insurance policies.