Brussels, Belgium–The European Union has announced its plans to introduce ETIAS, the new travel authorization system for visitors from the 58 visa-exempt countries traveling to the 27 Schengen Area countries.
According to the official website, the mandatory ‘European Travel Information and Authorization System’ (ETIAS) is set to be implemented in early 2024. Applicable visitors must obtain an ETIAS travel authorization before traveling to Europe (who is required to apply?).
Per the website, the ETIAS application will cost about $7.4 (€7) and will collect travelers’ essential details, including:
- Passport information
- Personal details, including health and travel history.
Applicants are expected to have the following:
- A passport valid beyond the intended stay in Europe
- An email address
- A debit or credit card
This ‘visa-waiver’ application will be completely online and will be valid for three years, provided you meet the EU entry requirements.
Note: ETIAS is NOT required for visitors applying under any visa scheme to enter the EU.
According to a statement released by the European Commission, the ETIAS application process will be “simple, fast, and affordable.”
Applicants must only fill out the online application form and pay the fee.
The information provided on the form would be screened using several security databases such as EURODAC, Visa Information System (VIS), and Schengen Information System (SIS). Any inconsistencies or mistakes made in the application would result in disapproval.
The European Commission has stated that the new system will not affect the freedom of movement of EU citizens. However, visitors required to obtain an ETIAS authorization will not be allowed to stay in the region for over 90 days within six months.
The introduction of the ETIAS system has been welcomed by European Union officials, who believe it will improve security in the region and reduce the risks posed by terrorism and other threats.
It is part of a broader effort by the European Union to enhance security and streamline travel within the EU. Other initiatives include:
- The strengthening of external borders.
- The introduction of biometric passports.
- The improvement of information sharing between member states’ security agencies.
The implementation of the ETIAS program has been postponed multiple times since it was passed into law in 2018. Scheduled to debut in early 2022, complications arising from the pandemic and other factors have caused its launch date to be pushed from January 2023 to May 2023 and now to an unspecified time in 2024.