EU version of ESTA launched by next year
Currently, we can travel to the EU without any paperwork apart from a stamp on your passport. However, the EU has always said they were planning a US ESTA-style electronic approval system for travel from outside the EU. They have now announced more details of the system which will be launched before the end of 2022. The system is called ETIAS.
ETIAS will be compulsory for all 18-70-year-olds and must be applied for before travel takes place or at kiosks at land borders. It is expected that the application would be authorised in a matter of minutes, except in rare cases. Luckily if you travel a lot you only have to get one every 3 years which makes it easier.
The official announcement said: “Visa-exempt non-EU nationals will only need a few minutes to fill in an online application which in a vast majority of cases (expected to be over 95%) will result in automatic approval.
“The process will be simple, fast and affordable: the ETIAS authorisation will cost €7, which will be a one-off fee and will be valid for three years and for multiple entries.”
Non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to travel to the Schengen area i.e. the UK will have to apply for a travel authorisation through the ETIAS system prior to their trip. The ETIAS countries that will require travellers to have an EU travel authorisation will be those that are currently full EU Schengen States, as well as countries that are European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Members and European Microstates.
The map shows the countries included: