From 2022, millions of tourists will need a new travel authorisation to visit Europe. The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will be introduced next year for visitors from visa-exempt countries.
This permit will be quick and easy to apply for online. It is not a visa and there are fewer requirements. Applicants will just need to fill out an online form and pay the fee.
The new entry requirement affects the entire Schengen Area, a total of 26 countries. Soon after its introduction, ETIAS for France, Spain, Italy and 23 other popular tourist destinations will become mandatory.
Read on to find out the countries whose citizens will soon need to apply and the full list of European nations which will require a visa waiver from 2022.
Who needs to apply?
Travellers from outside the EU need to find out whether they’ll need ETIAS for their next trip. In general, non-Europeans who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Area will be eligible.
There are over 60 visa-exempt countries in total including the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Japan. To visit European destinations with ETIAS instead of a visa, visitors from these countries must meet certain criteria.
Firstly, the visit must be for tourism or business. The new visa waiver cannot be used to work in Europe, a permit or visa from the specific Schengen nation is required to enter into employment. Transit passengers will also need to register.
Secondly, travellers can stay for a maximum of 90 days every 180 days in the Schengen Area. Longer stays require a visa.
Having a passport from a visa-waiver country does not automatically mean someone can travel without a visa. They also need to meet some health and safety requirements. The ETIAS application form includes some questions that will allow EU authorities to detect potential threats.
What about British tourists?
As a result of Brexit, the UK has become a third country. UK citizens no longer enjoy freedom of movement in the EU and new restrictions apply.
Whilst British travellers do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Area, they will need to register with ETIAS from 2022. Just like American and Japanese tourists and business people, UK citizens will need to pay a fee to go to Europe.
The biggest change for British nationals as a result of Brexit is that their visa-free stay will be capped at 90 per 180 days.
European destinations affected
Once foreign citizens have decided whether or not they’ll need the new travel authorisation, they also need to understand which countries require ETIAS.
The authorisation will be required to cross the external Schengen border. There are no internal borders in the region, which means the same pass is valid for the entire zone.
Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland
As can be seen from this list, the new regulation affects top holiday hotspots such as France and Spain. In addition, anyone who travels to EU countries regularly on business needs to be prepared.
A different permit will not be required to visit different countries. The same authorisation is valid across the entire Schengen Area for up to 90 days in total. This is a great benefit as holidaymakers can make the most of a long journey and visit several places on one trip to Europe.
Important EU travel information
Travellers affected by the new policy need to be aware of these key facts.
When? ETIAS should be launched at the end of 2022, a 6-month implementation period is expected, after that it will be mandatory for the travellers and countries listed above.
What for? It is for tourism, business and transit. Other activities such as work are not permitted without a visa or permit from the destination country.
How long? 90 days per 180-day period. This limit applies to the entire Schengen Area. For example, a foreigner who spends 10 days in France before going to Spain will have 80 days left. These 80 days may be spent in any combination of Schengen nations.
Validity. It will be valid for 3 years, or until the passport used to apply expires. Several trips to Europe can be made using the same travel authorisation.
More details will become available as the launch date approaches. Travellers should stay up to date with the latest ETIAS news and updates.