Travel to Europe is getting a tiny bit more expensive as the EU finalizes its European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
Prior to the implementation of ETIAS, tourists from over 60 countries qualified for visa free travel to the Schengen Area of Europe. However the EU will introduce ETIAS as a way to monitor traffic flow throughout countries within the Schengen Area as part of a safety plan to identify various security irregularities. As a result, travelers who once qualified for visa free travel will be required apply for ETIAS authorisation at a cost of €7/$7.50 to enter the Schengen Area from May 2023.
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As mentioned before, ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System. According to their website, the system is being implemented to identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors traveling to the Schengen States, whilst at the same time facilitate crossing borders for the vast majority of travelers who do not pose such risks.
Unlike a visa system which requires a lot of human intervention for application reviews, ETIAS is almost completely automated, and applications can be processed and returned within minutes. In cases where applicants are rejected, they can then appeal it for a manual review. When implemented, the ETIAS authorisation will be mandatory to enter the Schengen Area.
States that will require ETIAS include those in the Schengen Area, as well as some micro states. They are as follows:
It is also expected that Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania will sign on eventually.
If you are a citizen or resident of one of the 62 territories (including the United States of America) that qualified for visa-free travel into Schengen Area, you will be required for apply for ETIAS to enter the region. These territories are as follows (note some countries may have additional restrictions and this should be checked before travel):
If you are not from any of the above territories, most likely you would need some type of Schengen visa to enter and would not fall under ETIAS.
Even though ETIAS is still being finalized, they have outlined the expected process which will go as follows:
Once you get your ETIAS authorisation, expect it to be checked during check-in with your airline or ferry and when you enter the Schengen state you intend to visit or transit via. Travelers planning to enter via a land-based border can apply for ETIAS at that location via a self-serve kiosk (if they don’t want to apply online). The European Commission will provide more details later on once ETIAS goes live.
If you plan to travel to another country after exiting the Schengen Area, you will still need to check whether or not a visa is required to enter as ETIAS was not built to cover that kind of scenario. For instance, if you travel directly to France and plan to visit England after, you may be required to get a separate visa to enter England.
[Featured Photo: Pedro Szekely/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)]