By the end of this year, travellers from over 60 world countries, who currently can travel to the Schengen Area without a visa, will need to apply for a travel authorisation in order to be able to enter any of the Member States.
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The launch of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which has been postponed several times now, is unlikely to be postponed another time, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
This means that travellers should prepare to apply for an ETIAS authorisation starting from 2024.
While the EU has undertaken a few steps to inform citizens of third countries who will need an ETIAS in the future and several more are planned for the following months, regarding the system, application procedures, fees, and more, travellers still remain confused about how ETIAS is going to affect them, and what’s its purpose.
Incorrect media reporting and interpretations of the ETIAS, often done purposely, have caused confusion amongst travellers who for a few years now have tried to keep informed about the system, and the date it would become effective.
Based on the most frequent questions regarding ETIAS that we have received in the past by our readers, we have clarified below the top nine things one needs to know, before the system launches in 2024.
>> EU Postpones Launch of ETIAS to 2024
1. ETIAS Is Not a Visa
While the EU was still working on the EU regulations, many media and suspicious websites had claimed that ETIAS a new type of visa, making travellers from over 60 world countries believe that they would soon need a visa in order to travel to the Schengen Zone, causing not only panic, but also anger amongst many.
In fact, ETIAS is not a visa. ETIAS is a visa waiver pre-screening program for all travelers under the EU visa-free program, including here Britons, Americans, Kiwis, Albanians, Bosnians, etc.
In In March 2019, the EU delegation to the United States has responded to a tweet of a well-known American medium claiming that Americans will soon need a visa to travel to Europe, denying that the ETIAS is a visa, and rather pointing out that it is the equivalent of the US ESTA.
The latter is also a pre-screening program of travellers from over 40 countries that can enter the US under its Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
“Neither the ESTA nor the future ETIAS (EU equivalent) are visas. They carry out pre-travel screening for travellers benefiting from visa-free access,” the delegation had said in its tweet.
Similarly, over the past few years, EU officials have often refuted claims that the ETIAS is a visa.
There are many differences between an ETIAS and a Schengen Visa, and amongst the most important ones is that in order to obtain a Schengen visa you need to make an appointment, collect a long list of documents, attend an interview, and pay quite a high fee.
In contrary, the application for a travel authorisation takes only about ten minutes, and there’s no need to attend an interview or make an appointment, or even collect the documents required for a visa. In addition, the fee for it is very cheap compared to Schengen visa fees.
2. ETIAS Website Is Not Up Yet, But Will Be Under “europa.eu” Domain
There are currently tons of websites pretending to be the official ETIAS website, or others that don’t directly claim that, but appear as an official EU site. In addition there are others that claim to be intermediaries for obtaining an ETIAS, which is an absolutely unnecessary service.
In fact the website through which applicants will apply for an ETIAS has not been launched yet, but the EU authorities are working on it. The ETIAS website will be under the Europa.eu domain, which means that every other existing website, and others that will for sure pop up soon ending with “.com” “.net” “.eu” etc., are not legit.
The domain had been confirmed to SchengenVisaInfo.com in October 2020, by an EU press officer.
“This website will be part of the “europa.eu” domain name and will use the EU visual identity, making it easy for Internet users to identify it as an official EU website. We are also working on a search engine optimisation strategy to make sure the ETIAS website is easy to find in online searches,” the press officer had said at the time.
The same had also confirmed that the EU is aware of the existence of the numerous fake websites attempting to look like the official ETIAS website.
“We are aware of the proliferation of websites that offer information and/or services related to ETIAS,” a press officer of the eu-LISA had also told SchengenVisaInfo.com in an exchange of emails.
The eu-LISA the agency responsible for providing all the necessary technical solutions and functionalities for a website that can handle all the requirements that exist for the ETIAS web services.
3. Schengen Visa Applicants Will Not Be Affected by ETIAS
Travellers from over 100 world countries who currently need a Schengen visa in order to travel to any of the 27 Schengen Area countries for short-term periods and purposes like tourism, business, visiting family members, etc., will not need an ETIAS.
Yet, in case a country get visa liberalization after the ETIAS becomes effective, that’s when applicants from that country will start needing the ETIAS, instead of Schengen visas.
This will be the case for Kosovo, to which the Council of the EU has promised visa-free entry after the ETIAS becomes effective.
4. ETIAS Is Not a “Brexit Revenge” But Rather a Security Measure
Many British tabloids had tried to colour the creation of the ETIAS as a revenge action of the EU for Brexit, but this is very untrue.
Though the proposal for the creation of the ETIAS and the Brexit referendum in the UK for leaving the EU both took place in 2016, they are not related.
In fact, the idea to create the system is an attempt of the EU to secure its borders, after the wave of migrants that reached the EU borders in the years before, and a number of terrorist attacks that took place all over the block, and resulted with tens of Europeans losing their lives.
“We need to know who is crossing our borders. This way we will know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here,” the then-EU Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker had said presenting the proposal.
It is also expected that the scheme will assist the EU countries to reduce entry procedures at the external borders and reinforce the visa liberalisation policy.
5. Many Other Countries Have Similar Schemes, Including the US, Australia, & Canada
The EU is not the first, nor the last to introduce such a scheme. Other countries have operated similar systems, for almost identical purposes, for years now, and even decades.
The United States have operated the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) since 2007, which is also an online scheme for applications for travellers from countries under the US’ Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The fee for an ESTA application is US $4, and if approved, an additional fee of US $17 is charged, for a total of US $21. Which makes it three times more expensive than an ETIAS.
Australia, on the other hand, operates a scheme called Electronic Travel Authority (eTA), since March 23, 2013, which costs AU$20.
The United Kingdom is also working on a similar system, which for now is being called Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), and will serve for the same purpose as the ETIAS. This means that once the UK ETA becomes effective, travellers from the EU will need to obtain one to enter the territory of the UK.
6. Application Procedures Are Supposed to Take About 10 Minutes
As emphasised above, applying for an ETIAS, is so much easier than for a visa. Travellers will need to fill in some information, upload a scan of their passport, their photo, and be done.
The whole application procedures are expected to take about ten minutes.
7. It Costs Only €7
In spite of what some tabloids have tried to portray, the ETIAS is actually quite cheap. “Brits will have to pay to enter the EU”, and “Travel to EU to become more expensive” have been some of the most common claims in the recent years, both of which are true to an extent, but not as extreme as they sound.
An ETIAS will cost only €7, which is at least one time cheaper than all other travel authorisations of systems operated by other countries. Moreover, travellers won’t have to obtain a new ETIAS every time they travel, as they can use the same one over and over again, as long as it is valid.
8. You Can Travel to Schengen Area With the Same ETIAS, As Long As It Is Valid
As said above, in spite of the attempts to make it look as if travellers will need a new ETIAS every time they travel to the Schengen Area countries, that is absolutely untrue.
An ETIAS will be valid for two years at first. If the traveller’s passport expires within two years after application for an ETIAS, then the validity of the first-obtained ETIAS will be until the expiration of their passport.
Travellers who apply with passports that are valid more than two years, will obtain an ETIAS valid for two years.
Those who after their first ETIAS expires, apply for a second ETIAS, will receive it with a validity of up to five years, and then ten and so on.
9. Operation of ETIAS Is Linked to the Entry/Exit System
The operation of the ETIAS is deeply linked to the launch of the Entry/Exit System (EES). The latter is another lately developed system by the EU, in a bid to enhance security in the Schengen Zone.
The EES is a large-scale IT system which amongst others will replace visa stamping. It will be implemented as a part of the Smart Borders Package introduced by the EU in 2016, part of which is also the ETIAS.
It will also play an important role for Schengen visa applications, as once it becomes fully operational, authorities responsible for issuing Schengen visas shall consult the EES when processing visa applications, as well as before decisions to annul, revoke or extend the period of validity of an issued visa.
NOTE: A previous version of this text stated that the ETIAS will launch on November 2023. Since then, the EU has updated the launch date to 2024, though the exact day is unknown. The text has been updated in a bid to keep readers up to date with the most recent changes.
What are ETIAS requirements? ›
ETIAS Travel Requirements
To apply for the ETIAS, you'll need a valid passport and email address, Travelers between 18 and 70 will need a debit or credit card to pay for the non-refundable service fee.
They must meet the France ETIAS requirements for Americans. United States citizens can visit France and the other Schengen Area countries visa-free for up to 90 days for business or tourist purposes. However, from 2024, American passport holders will be required to register online for ETIAS.Do US citizens need ETIAS for Europe? ›
Currently, U.S. citizens can freely enter the Schengen Zone (an area of 26 countries covering much of Europe) for up to 90 days for business and/or tourism purposes. End of 2023, all U.S. citizens traveling to the 26 Schengen Zone countries will need to register with ETIAS or will risk being denied entry.Do I need ETIAS in 2023? ›
ETIAS goes into effect in November 2023. Travelers from countries that currently enjoy visa-free travel to the European Union will need an ETIAS authorization for travel beginning after November 2023.Do US citizens need a Schengen visa? ›
With a valid U.S. passport, you can stay up to 90 days for tourism or business during any 180-day period. Do not overstay! You must wait an additional 90 days before applying to re-enter the Schengen area. To stay longer than 90 days, you must have a visa.Do Americans need an ETIAS waiver? ›
In the year 2024, citizens from the United States of America will be required to complete an ETIAS application prior to boarding an aircraft, sea carrier, or coach vehicle for Europe, and this includes travellers who will only be transiting in Europe en route to other destinations.What documents do I need to travel to Europe from the US? ›
- A US Passport. ...
- ETIAS Authorization (starting from 2024).
- Evidence on their purpose of entry. ...
- Proof of sufficient financial means.
Refugees or stateless persons who do not have the nationality of any of the Schengen Member States nor a travel document issued by any Member State. Foreign nationals who need uniform visas (Schengen visa). Foreign nationals who have a long-stay D visa for the Schengen area.
British nationals, like all travellers coming from visa-exempt countries, will be required to have a valid ETIAS travel authorisation if they travel for a short stay (90 days within a 180 days period).Will ETIAS replace Schengen visa? ›
You will not be able to enter the US with an ETIAS, just the same as an ESTA holder is not permitted to enter the EU without having an ETIAS or Schengen Visa. US citizens, which are permitted to enter Europe visa-free, starting from 2024, will have to obtain an ETIAS prior to their trip to the Schengen Zone.
How much is ETIAS to USA? ›
Visa Authorization Fees Not Unusual
The U.S. has been operating such a program for nationals from 40 different countries – mostly in Europe – since launching Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) in 2009. Those fees run $21. The EU plans to operate ETIAS with a $7 fee.
Tourists will need an ETIAS visa waiver for Greece as an added security measure. It is important to know that this is the same for all EU countries found within the Schengen Area, not just for Greece. Not to be confused with a standard travel visa, ETIAS screens all applicants prior to their visit to Greece.Do US citizens need ETIAS for Switzerland? ›
As of now, many non-EU citizens only need a passport to visit Europe. This is set to change from 2024. Non-EU citizens will need an ETIAS visa waiver for Switzerland in order to enter the country and travel throughout the Schengen Area.What are the Schengen rules for 2023? ›
Starting in 2023, it will be a requirement to be a full British citizen before applying for an ETIAS, so travellers holding a passport or travel document with a different status such as a British subject, British overseas citizen or British protected person will be required to apply for a full Schengen visitor visa, ...What is the ETIAS watchlist? ›
The ETIAS watchlist will contain the names and some details of individuals who are known to have been involved in terrorism or other serious crime. Those suspected of having taken part in such illegal activity will also appear on the list, as will any individual likely to commit serious crimes in the future.Do I need to print my ETIAS? ›
ETIAS Application Supporting Documents
You will not need any printed document like you do when applying for a visa, which saves you a lot of time, money and nerve. All you will need is your passport which must be valid at the time you are arriving in Europe and beyond your planned departure.
Apply for the ETIAS visa waiver with a criminal record
On the ETIAS application for there will be some security questions regarding criminal activity and all applicants will be screened by eU-LISA (the department of the EU responsible for criminal data management).
You need at least EUR 50 (equivalent to INR 4,341.24)* per day in your bank account to obtain a Greek Schengen visa from India. If you plan to stay in the country for up to five days, the required amount is raised to EUR 300 (equivalent to INR 26,047.44)* per day.What is the 90 180 rule? ›
Your total stay in the Schengen area must be no more than 90 days in every 180 days. It does not matter how many countries you visit. The 180-day period keeps 'rolling'. To work out if your stay is within the 90 day limit, use the following steps. Check the date you plan to leave the Schengen area on your next trip.Which Schengen visa is easy to get from US? ›
Luxembourg is one of the easiest European countries to get a visa, with one of the lowest rejection rates, specifically 1.3%. The total number of applications in 2021 was 2,384, from which 2,296 were issued.
Why U.S. citizens don't need visa for Europe? ›
The reason? The United States has reciprocal agreements in place that permit Americans to travel to most European nations (and certain other countries, such as Australia) without a visa in exchange for the citizens of those nations enjoying the same rights.How do I know if I need an ETIAS? ›
You might be surprised to find out who needs ETIAS. With the arrival of ETIAS expected in 2024, passport holders of 59 of the 62 countries that currently travel visa-free, will require an ETIAS waiver to travel to Europe for the purposes of tourism, business, or transit for a 90 days stay in any 180-day period.How do I get a Schengen visa from the US? ›
- Visa application form – completely filled with the required information. ...
- A valid passport or Travel document. ...
- US residence permit. ...
- Photo – taken within the last three months. ...
- A cover letter. ...
- Round-trip Flight Itinerary.
Copies of All Identification Documents
You want a copy of all your identification – one for each checked bag. Keep a hard copy of your documents in your carry-on and each checked bag of luggage with which you are traveling, in case any of them go missing during the trip.
Passport, Travel Visa and National ID Card
Proper identification is the foundation of international travel. As a result, you should ensure to always have an official identification document with you. You can even consider having multiple documents such as your passport, national ID card or driver's licence.
- Advance parole document;
- Refugee travel document;
- Re-entry permit;
- TPS travel authorization; and.
- Carrier documentation.
How long does it take to get ETIAS approval? Once an ETIAS application is complete and submitted, most responses come the same day. If there is a delay for some reason ETIAS approval can take up to four days.Will over 70s need an ETIAS visa? ›
An ETIAS will cost €7 (equivalent to GBP 6.03, as of January 2023) for all applicants between the ages of 18 and 70. Minors and applicants over 70 years old will receive an ETIAS free of charge.Will I be able to travel to Europe in 2023? ›
Beginning in spring 2023, American citizens, as well as travelers from 58 other countries, will require an European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) visa waiver to travel to any of the Schengen-zone countries for short stays.Should my first trip be to the country which issued my Schengen visa? ›
It is the country that is your first destination in the region. More often than not, you will have to apply to the country which is your port of entry. As per the Schengen visa rules first port of entry is usually the country that issues your visa.
Do you go through passport control between Schengen countries? ›
The Schengen area comprises 26 European countries. There is normally no passport control on the borders between these countries. If you have a valid visa or residence permit in one of these countries, you can also visit the other Schengen countries.Do I need an ETIAS to travel to Paris? ›
Visitors from countries that enjoy visa exemption for France and the Schengen Area will continue to do so; however from 2024, registering with ETIAS will be an additional requirement. The online form is quick and simple to fill out compared to a traditional visa application at an embassy.Which Schengen country is easy to get visa in 2023? ›
Switzerland is a great inroad for an easy Europe visa for Indian citizens.What is the difference between Schengen visa and ETIAS visa? ›
ETIAS is a new electronic travel authorisation that is for travellers who currently can travel to Europe without a visa. The Schengen Visa, on the other hand, is a visa that is currently required for travel to Europe for travellers are unable to travel to EU countries without a visa.Is ETIAS multiple entry? ›
As ETIAS is a multiple-entry travel authorisation which will allow multiple stays of 90 days within each 180-day period, there will be no need to apply for ETIAS for each trip to the Schengen Area during its validity.How much is Schengen visa fee in USA? ›
The standard Schengen visa fee is €80 (USD 84). Children between the ages of six and twelve pay a reduced fee of €40, whereas children under the age of six are entirely exempt from payment. You pay the fee when submitting the Schengen visa application at the embassy/consulate or a visa application centre.What visa is required for US citizens traveling to Greece? ›
Greece is a party to the Schengen Agreement; therefore, U.S. citizens may enter Greece without a visa for stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.Do Americans need visa for France? ›
Visa requirements for American passport holders
American passport holders are not required to obtain a visa prior to visiting France for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Yes. According to the Schengen rules, the Schengen visa is generally valid for all the countries in the Schengen area.Do U.S. citizens need ETIAS for Europe? ›
Currently, U.S. citizens can freely enter the Schengen Zone (an area of 26 countries covering much of Europe) for up to 90 days for business and/or tourism purposes. End of 2023, all U.S. citizens traveling to the 26 Schengen Zone countries will need to register with ETIAS or will risk being denied entry.
Do U.S. citizens need ETIAS for France? ›
They must meet the France ETIAS requirements for Americans. United States citizens can visit France and the other Schengen Area countries visa-free for up to 90 days for business or tourist purposes. However, from 2024, American passport holders will be required to register online for ETIAS.How long can US citizens stay in Schengen? ›
With a valid U.S. passport, you can stay up to 90 days for tourism or business during any 180-day period. Do not overstay! You must wait an additional 90 days before applying to re-enter the Schengen area. To stay longer than 90 days, you must have a visa.How do you get past the 90 180 Schengen rule? ›
You will need to apply for a study permit only in case you intend to undertake studies exceeding 90 days of stay in the Schengen area within a period of 180 days. For longer studies you have to apply for a study permit and the rules vary from country to country.Who is eligible for ETIAS visa? ›
To meet the ETIAS eligibility requirements, travellers must be a national of a non-EU visa-exempt country and visiting Europe for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. They must also be travelling for tourism, business or other visa-exempt purposes.Who needs a ETIAS form? ›
You might be surprised to find out who needs ETIAS. With the arrival of ETIAS expected in 2024, passport holders of 59 of the 62 countries that currently travel visa-free, will require an ETIAS waiver to travel to Europe for the purposes of tourism, business, or transit for a 90 days stay in any 180-day period.Is ETIAS mandatory? ›
Under the ETIAS, these visitors will undergo additional security checks prior to being permitted to enter the EU. The ETIAS will be mandatory for citizens of such countries as the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Learn more about the various aspects and implications of ETIAS by visiting the FAQ.Do U.S. citizens need ETIAS for Switzerland? ›
As of now, many non-EU citizens only need a passport to visit Europe. This is set to change from 2024. Non-EU citizens will need an ETIAS visa waiver for Switzerland in order to enter the country and travel throughout the Schengen Area.What will ETIAS check? ›
The legal procedures to pass the ETIAS started in 2016, and the system is expected to be fully operational in 2024. The ETIAS will undergo a detailed security check of each applicant to determine whether they can be allowed to enter any Schengen Zone country.How much does the ETIAS cost? ›
How much does the ETIAS cost? The ETIAS only costs 7 euros. Travelers under the age of 18, or over the age of 70, will not need to pay the fee – but still have to apply. What is this?Is it hard to get a ETIAS visa? ›
Non-EU citizens from visa-exempt countries, such as the UK, will need ETIAS to cross an external border. ETIAS is not a visa and will be much easier to obtain. The application process is fully online and will take just a few minutes to complete.
Do U.S. citizens need an ETIAS for Greece? ›
Tourists will need an ETIAS visa waiver for Greece as an added security measure. It is important to know that this is the same for all EU countries found within the Schengen Area, not just for Greece. Not to be confused with a standard travel visa, ETIAS screens all applicants prior to their visit to Greece.Do U.S. citizens need a visa for France? ›
American passport holders are not required to obtain a visa prior to visiting France for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.Will you be charged to visit Europe from 2023? ›
Initially, Europe announced that starting May 2021 (and then delayed until November 2023) Americans between the ages of 18 to 70 entering Europe would have to pay a €7 fee, which comes to about $7.42.