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ETIAS: What is it and when does it start?

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The European Travel Information and Authorisation System or ETIAS is an entry requirement for 30 countries in the EU and the Schengen area. It works in a similar way to a Visa. You don’t need an ETIAS to travel to these countries now, but you have to apply for an ETIAS from mid-2025.

Person handing over passport

An ETIAS is an entry requirement for non-eu-nationals to enter countries in Europe or the Schengen area. The ETIAS starts from mid-2025. After this, you have to apply for an ETIAS to travel to these countries.

The ETIAS works in a similar way to the USA’s ESTA or electronic system for travel authorisation.

You need an ETIAS to enter these countries in Europe and the Schengen area from the UK:

  • 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
  • Switzerland

You don’t need an ETIAS to travel to the Republic of Ireland.

You can’t apply for an ETIAS yet, but you can when the system starts mid-2025. When it does start, you can apply for an ETIAS through the Travel Europe website.

To apply for an ETIAS, you need:

  • A valid travel document, for example a passport. This must have more than 3 months left on it when you apply. It also shouldn’t be older than 10 years.
  • Personal information, for example your name, address, nationality, your parent’s first names, email address and phone number.
  • Your level of education and occupation.
  • Details about your trip including how you’re travelling and where you’re staying.
  • Details of criminal convictions, past travel to any war zones. You might also be asked to give details of any times when you’ve been asked to leave a country.
  • A payment card to pay the ETIAS fee.

It costs 7 euros to apply for an ETIAS, according to the Travel Europe website.

The ETIAS is linked to your passport and lasts for up to 3 years or until your passport expires.

You can travel to the countries on the list as often as you like but only for 90 days within a 180 day period. This means you can travel in and out of the country you’re visiting if you need to, as long as it’s for no longer than 90 days within a 180 day period.

It’s important to remember that the ETIAS doesn’t guarantee you entry. You also need your passport and any other relevant travel documents too.

If there’s a problem with your ETIAS, or you didn’t get one, you might not be allowed to enter the country you’re visiting.

If your documents aren’t correct and you’re denied entry, then your travel insurance doesn’t cover the cost of your trip or return flights. You have to pay for this yourself.

What our home & lifestyle insurance expert says

“It’s good to be aware of the new regulations when it comes to documentation. Particularly as Spain, Italy and France, which are all on the ETIAS list, are popular destinations for travel insurance. 

“The ETIAS isn’t starting until mid-2025, but it’s worth making a note of it for when you book your trip. Make sure you provide all the information that the application asks for so you don’t risk being denied entry. Remember, your travel insurance doesn't cover you for missed flights or accommodation bookings if you're denied entry.”

The EES is an automated system to record non-eu-nationals entry and exit into Europe for a short stay (90 days within 180 days).

From the end of 2024, you have to scan your passport at an automated self-service kiosk instead of having it stamped.The system captures:

  • Your name
  • The type of travel document
  • Biometric data (for example, your fingerprints and photograph)
  • The date
  • The place of entry and exit

According to Travel Europe, the main advantage of the EES is saving time because you don’t need to get your passport stamped. It could also help to identify people who haven’t got a right to travel to the EU or are using fake travel documents.

If you want to stay in Europe for more than 90 days in a 180 day period, you have to apply for a long-stay VISA or residence permit from the country you’re visiting. You can check the entry requirements for your destination at GOV.UK.

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