Updated February 2023: ETIAS implementation has been postponed to 2024, to give infrastructure at ports, land, and rail crossings time to ready the infrastructure needed to record facial and fingerprint data.
Starting in 2024, Europe Will Roll Out ETIAS for Visitors from the U.S., UK, Canada, and other visa waiver countries, who will need to pay EUR 7 per person as part of the application. During the anticipated ETIAS 6 month grace period, European authorities will inform U.S. visitors and other third-country nationals about the new travel authorization system when visitors arrive at Schengen borders or EU embassies or consulates.
Why the ETIAS? And Why Now?
Many Americans aren't familiar with the ESTA that visitors from the European Union, Japan, and other visa waiver countries have to complete before traveling to the U.S. It debuted after the 2001 terrorist attacks to screen visitors coming from visa waiver countries. Americans do have complete a similar ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to travel to Australia (currently applicants use the Australian ETA app to apply).
The EU has been working on the ETIAS for the past several years, but France in particular has pushed for ETIAS implementation following the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed over 130 people and wounded over 400, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. Spring 2021 attacks against police prompted President Macron to say that France would “never give in to Islamic extremism” and renew the push for ETIAS implementation.
When Will Applying for an ETIAS Be Required?
The ETIAS Web site has been updated to note the anticipated November 2023 start date for ETIAS applications, with a 6 month grace period.
Will Kids and Babies Also Need to Apply?
Yes, even kids and babies will need to apply online for an ETIAS, although those under age 18 or over age 70 won't need to pay the EUR 7 fee.
How Long Will a Decision Take?
The online application should take no more than 20 minutes to complete, and a decision should normally be provided within minutes, although a small percentage of applications may take up to 4 weeks to process if authorities request additional documentation to review.
Which Countries Will Require the ETIAS?
Visa-free visitors will need to apply for an ETIAS to enter all Schengen member countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
The following European Free Trade Agreement members will also require the ETIAS: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland.
What Will the ETIAS Application Ask?
Applicants will need to provide:
- Full name, including last name at birth, usual name(s); date of birth, place of birth, country of birth, gender, current nationality, first names of the parents of the applicant; home address
- Passport details
- Other nationalities or citizenships, if applicable
- Permanent residence address
- Email address and telephone number
- European country of intended first entry
- Education and / or current occupation information
- ETIAS background and eligibility questions, including medical conditions or other infectious or contagious parasitic diseases; criminal history involving serious damage to property, to another person or entity; history of distributing illegal drugs; previous travel to war-zone countries as well as any previous immigration or travel history which resulted in the applicant being deported or rejected entry into an EU member country
For more details, see ETIAS.com
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