Preparing for ETIAS, The EU’s New Border Entry System
12th July 2023
Beginning in January 2024, some 1.4 billion people from over 60 visa-exempt countries will be required to have a travel authorization to enter most European (EU) countries. The ETIAS (EU Travel Information & Authorization System) is being developed in parallel with EES (Entry/Exit System) to further strengthen the EU’s internal security while aiming to enhance the safety of European citizens and visitors alike.
ETIAS will apply to travelers from visa-exempt countries, which currently includes citizens from various nations such as the United States, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and many others whom currently do not require visas for short-term visits to the Schengen Area.
It’s important to note that ETIAS is not a visa but rather a pre-travel authorization. The key difference between a Schengen Visa and the travel authorization is, ETIAS an electronic system linked to the traveler’s passport, whereas a Schengen Visa is specific to the country applied for and may not be valid for other Schengen countries.
Once approved, the travel authorization will be valid for multiple entries in a period of up to three years or until the expiration of the traveler’s passport, whichever comes first, and will come at a cost of EUR 7. Applicants who are under 18 or over 70 years of age are exempt from this payment, as well as family members of EU citizens and non-EU nationals who have right to move freely throughout the European Union.
While experts say the process is relatively simple with quick turnarounds, it could disrupt travel plans for many who may be unaware of this new requirement before their date of departure.
The potential challenges that travelers may face with the implementation of Europe’s new border entry system include increased costs, additional planning requirements, and the need to provide personal information for authorization leading to the possibility of increased scrutiny and potential denials of entry for certain individuals. There may even be a ripple effect for the travel industry as a whole—in the form of cancellations and the inevitable requests for refunds, warns experts.
However, the true test of the program may be just how long it takes to obtain ETIAS approval once an application has been submitted. Similar to COVID-19 travel, it reinforces the need to use a travel agency such as GMT – Global Marine Travel who can provide guidance in these areas.
GMT’s Founder and Managing Director, Tim Davey, suggests “to become aware of the upcoming changes now in order to better prepare yourself when the time comes for traveling to the EU in 2024 and beyond.” He suggests to carefully plan and have all your documents in order including checking passport expiry as your travel document should not expire in less than three months and cannot be older than 10 years.
“With this upcoming change, GMT will do as much as we can to help our clients obtain the online travel authorization so that their travel plans do not falter,” Davey declared.
With a valid ETIAS travel authorization, travelers can visit European countries on the list as often as they want “for short-term stays – normally for up to 90 days in any 180-day period,” according to the ETIAS website.
Travelers who don’t have the necessary ETIAS approval in place will not be able to get onto flights bound for the EU, and those traveling by ground transportation will face rejection at the borders. It is also important to note that having a valid ETIAS travel authorization does not guarantee an automatic right of entry.
ETIAS approval can be obtained using the official program website or the ETIAS mobile application.
Below is the full list of ETIAS countries required to comply with the new requirement:
These 30 European countries require visa-exempt travelers to have an ETIAS travel authorization:
The EU has also clarified that with the ETIAS application, travelers will not be required to provide any information related to their health or vaccination status, as well as any biometric data, such as fingerprints.
It should also be noted that the U.K. is introducing a similar system later this year for certain gulf nationalities with more to follow in due course.Back to News