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Travelling into the Schengen area: what is an Etias

January 12, 2024

ETIAS – European Travel Information and Authorisation System

There are many countries that are not in the European Union (EU) whose citizens can enter the EU Schengen Zone without needing a visa. Specifically, there are currently 59 countries that are not in the EU but are visa-free.

Citizens of these countries are allowed to go into countries in the Schengen Zone for business or travel purposes for up to 90 days. During these 90 days, these visitors cannot work or study but can engage in business and tourism activities.

In addition, recent security concerns with terrorism and the migrant crisis have called for better management of who is entering EU borders. The EU has continuously declared its goal of making travelling within its borders a more secure experience.

To reduce procedures and wait times and address security concerns, the European Commission (EC) has come up with a solution – ETIAS.

This article will contain all the information you need regarding this new system and whether you qualify for it.

From when will the ETIAS be required?

The current launch date for ETIAS is expected to be in 2025. More information on the implementation process will be posted here when it is available.

What is ETIAS?

ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a completely electronic system that allows and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. In a way, it resembles the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose.

The ETIAS will apply to the Schengen Zone, which is not the same as the European Union. There are four countries in the EU that are not members of the Schengen Zone, and there are also four countries in the Schengen Zone which are not members of the EU.

The legal procedures to pass the ETIAS started in 2016, and, after a number of postponements of the launch, the system is now expected to be fully operational in 2025.

The ETIAS will undergo a detailed security check of each applicant to determine whether they can be allowed to enter any Schengen Zone country. While citizens of countries who do not need a visa for travel purposes of up to 90 days in the EU do not need to go through a long process of applying for the visa, the ETIAS will make sure that these people are not a security threat. This travel authorization system will gather, keep track of, and update necessary information regarding visitors to determine whether it is safe for them to enter Schengen countries.

The ETIAS, besides being used for business and tourist purposes, will also allow people to visit the Schengen countries for medical and transit reasons. In addition, it will be mandatory for all countries that are Schengen visa-free.

Why ETIAS Authorisation?

In his 2016 State of the Union Address, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the following:

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 main reason for the approval of the ETIAS authorization is security. With the increased risk of travellers worldwide, the EU wants to ensure safe travel in its countries. The ETIAS will decrease security concerns substantially through its information and data-gathering systems. This means that the ETIAS will detect if a person is a threat in any way to the security of Schengen countries. This will lead to the person being denied entry and avoiding the threat of being present inside EU borders. It will basically deal with a problem before it is even there.

However, besides making travelling more secure, the ETIAS authorization will also assist the EU countries and all travellers in the following ways:

  • Reduce procedures and application times
  • Improve the management of EU country borders
  • Assist in detecting and decreasing crime and terrorism
  • Impede irregular migration
  • Reinforce the visa liberalization policy of the EU

All in all, the ETIAS authorization will make travelling to the EU less of a hassle and a much safer experience.


How will electronic travel authorization system work

European Countries That Will Require ETIAS:

These are the European countries that will require a valid ETIAS upon arrival at their borders:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Who Will Need ETIAS?

As mentioned, the ETIAS targets citizens of countries who can enter the EU visa-free zone . As such, there are 63 countries will need to get ETIAS authorization.

>> List of Countries Required to Apply for ETIAS

An ETIAS will be requrired for any person enteriing the EU visa-free zone by air, land or sea. This means:

  • travellers on Eurostar need an ETIAS.
  • travellers on Eurotunnel in a private car or coach need an ETIAS. 
  • travellers on a cross-channel ferry, whether in a private car, coach or as foot passengers, will all need an ETIAS.
  • travellers entering the EU by air will need an ETIAS.

How Will the ETIAS System Work?

The ETIAS system will be simple to use and save time for applicants and processing.

How will ETIAS system work?

Those who want to get approval will have to follow these steps to apply for ETIAS:

Filling out the application form

The ETIAS application is expected to take about 10 minutes to fill out. It will be online, so you will not have to go through paperwork. Depending on your country of citizenship, it will present you with several fields to fill. You must give the following information:

  • Biometric information such as:
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Last name at birth
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Information regarding your citizenship
  • Address
  • Email and phone number
  • Education and work experience
  • First EU country you intend to visit
  • Background and eligibility questions will inquire about your medical condition, travel to war countries or places where you were deported or rejected, as well as criminal records
  • For minors, the legal guardian must apply for ETIAS
  • For family members of EU citizens from other countries, you must submit proof of relationship, residence card, and other background information

Submitting the application

When you complete the application, you must pay and submit the fee. The system will do the following:

  • Check if the information you gave was correct
  • Check your eligibility
  • Check your risk factors

You will be approved if what you filled out on the application form is correct and you are eligible and not risky for the ETIAS. This whole procedure is expected to be completed in only a few minutes.

However, the application will be manually processed if there is a hit from the ETIAS. The manual processing is expected to take about 96 hours (4 days), or a maximum of 2 weeks.

How Much Will ETIAS Cost?

The ETIAS will not burden your finances a lot. It is planned to have the ETIAS cost only €7 for each application. This is only applies to adults between the ages of 18 and 70 years old, as those under 18 and those over 70 will not have to pay any fees. You can pay the fee by debit or credit card. Immediately after you complete the payment, the ETIAS authorization will start processing.


The European Union website has an FAQ page, which provides answers to questions that have been raised.

Tha page covers the following subject headings:

  • About ETIAS travel authorisation
  • Applying for an ETIAS travel authorisation
  • Updating information
  • Exemptions and specific cases
  • Fees and Payment
  • Travelling with ETIAS
  • Refusals, cancellations and appeals
  • Validity and renewal
  • Security and privacy