Understanding ETIAS and what it means for European travel

EU proposals for visa-free travel for Britons undertaking short trips to Europe in the wake of Brexit are a positive step, but what other costs will be associated with travelling after 29 March 2019?

One requirement that has already been confirmed by the European Commission is the need for UK travellers to the EU to be part of the European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme (ETIAS).

Although not yet launched, ETIAS is expected to come into force from 2021. It will be similar to the ESTA scheme that is in operation for individuals travelling to the USA with the documentation designed to ensure a smooth entry into a destination country.

The application can be completed online, costs in the region of €7 (c. £6.10 - £6.20) and covers travel around the EU for a three year period.

Understanding ETIAS

The ETIAS is a move from the EU to increase security by introducing more controls over visitors from a defined list of countries that do not need a visa to visit.

Tourists from these countries, including Australia, the USA and Japan – and soon the UK too – can travel within the Schengen zone for up to 90 days before a visa is required.

The ETIAS will be a travel requirement for all of these individuals, regardless of whether they are visiting for business, tourism, medical or other transit-related reasons.

What it means for UK travellers

As part of the Brexit deal, both UK citizens and EU nationals will be able to continue travelling across Europe through the transition period using a valid passport.

The ETIAS will also need to be completed if an individual is aged between 18 and 70, with questions focusing on passport information, alongside background checks into criminal records and medical conditions.

It is believed that the majority of applications will be quick and successful, although the process may be delayed or rejected in certain instances.

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Date Created: 14 February 2019