ETIAS Visa: what to know about Europe’s new entry requirement

Europe is introducing a significant change to its visa requirements. Starting in Spring 2025, visitors from over 60 visa-exempt countries will be required to obtain an Electronic Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) authorization before entering any of the Schengen Area countries. This new measure aims to increase border security and simplify travel procedures for non-EU visitors.

The program was planned to be launched in 2023, but it has been postponed by the European Union first to 2024 and, more recently, to 2025. 

Understanding the ETIAS visa

ETIAS is an electronic travel authorization system designed to enhance border security and facilitate smoother travel for non-EU citizens visiting the Schengen Area. It’s not a visa but an authorization that permits visa-exempt travelers to stay for short visits of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

Countries that will require an ETIAS authorization from visitors

All Schengen Area countries, including:

  • Austria 🇦🇹
  • Belgium 🇧🇪
  • Bulgaria 🇧🇬
  • Croatia 🇭🇷
  • Cyprus 🇨🇾
  • Czech Republic 🇨🇿
  • Denmark 🇩🇰
  • Estonia 🇪🇪
  • Finland 🇫🇮
  • France 🇫🇷
  • Germany 🇩🇪
  • Greece 🇬🇷
  • Hungary 🇭🇺
  • Iceland 🇮🇸
  • Italy 🇮🇹
  • Latvia 🇱🇻
  • Liechtenstein 🇱🇮
  • Lithuania 🇱🇹
  • Luxembourg 🇱🇺
  • Malta 🇲🇹
  • Netherlands 🇳🇱
  • Norway 🇳🇴
  • Poland 🇵🇱
  • Portugal 🇵🇹
  • Romania 🇷🇴
  • Slovakia 🇸🇰
  • Slovenia 🇸🇮
  • Spain 🇪🇸
  • Sweden 🇸🇪
  • Switzerland 🇨🇭

Travelers are exempt if visiting non-Schengen countries:

  • Albania 🇦🇱
  • Andorra 🇦🇩
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina 🇧🇦
  • Kosovo 🇽🇰
  • Monaco 🇲🇨
  • Montenegro 🇲🇪
  • North Macedonia 🇲🇰
  • San Marino 🇸🇲
  • Serbia 🇷🇸

Who is affected by ETIAS?

Citizens of over 60 countries currently enjoying visa-free entry to the Schengen Area will need to obtain an ETIAS authorization before their 2025 trip. This includes the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most of South America. EU member state citizens and selected non-EU countries (Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Switzerland) are exempt.

The ETIAS application process

The ETIAS application process is built to be straightforward and will be available online:

  • Applicants will need to provide personal information, passport details, and travel plans.
  • A €7 application fee will be charged
  • Processing time will take up to 72 hours
  • After approved, the ETIAS authorizations will be valid for three years or until the passport expires.

How can this visa change impact your travel plans?

The new visa requirement might make it harder to jump on last-minute trips to Paris, as it will likely take up to 72 hours for the authorization to be issued. The change also adds a new layer of bureaucracy (and cost) to the trip-planning process.

Travelers should apply well in advance to avoid delays, fines, or entry denial. Make sure to:

  • Check eligibility: Confirm if your country requires an ETIAS authorization.
  • Apply Early: when the time comes, avoid last-minute applications to prevent travel disruptions.
  • Stay informed: Monitor official ETIAS websites for updates.

Understanding ETIAS, applying early, and staying informed ensure a smooth and hassle-free European travel experience and it should NOT be a setback on your travel plans. Just remember to stay alert for updates and plan ahead.

 

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