Visitors from outside the EU Schengen Zone will need to register to visit from 2023 ©Shutterstock
Visitors from outside the EU Schengen Zone will need to register to visit from 2023 ┬ęShutterstock

New rules are coming for traveling to Europe

TripFalcon October 10, 2020

Last Update: 2020-10-10 14:19:04

A new travel authorisation system is set to be introduced in Europe by 2022, requiring visitors from outside the European Schengen Zone to register before visiting.

The scheme was initially slated to be rolled out in 2021 but it's now looking likely that it won't be fully operational until the end of 2022. When it was first announced back in 2019, reports around the world referred to the the new system as a ‘visa’, which the European Commission was quick to point out is incorrect. Currently, more than 60 countries have visa-free access to the European Union and this won't change.

The program will be an additional step travelers need to complete before traveling ┬ęDreamer4787/Shutterstock
The program will be an additional step travelers need to complete before traveling ©Dreamer4787/Shutterstock

However, there will be an additional step for non-EU visitors to complete before preparing to travel. Visitors from these countries - including the USA, Canada, Brazil and the UK - will need to apply online through the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). This works in a similar way to the US ESTA, conducting a quick, automated security check on visitors before allowing them entry.

The application will cost €7 (US $6.22) and it’s estimated that 95% of people will get a positive response within minutes. Out of the remaining applications, 3-4% may need a little longer to process while just 1-2% will be forwarded for a longer, manual review with the potential for refusal. The ETIAS will then be valid for three years.

Airlines will need to check passports before boarding to ensure you’ve been approved. If you get to a border check without securing an authorisation, you will be denied entry. Perhaps confusingly, the ETIAS will not be needed for every EU country but rather for those in the Schengen Area, who have abolished all controls at their mutual borders. Currently Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Croatia do not fall within that area.

While the scheme will be up and running by the end of 2022, it won't be mandatory for another six months after that. A spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed to SchengenVisaInfo that plans for the roll out "have so far not been affected by the coronavirus pandemic," despite it being pushed back from its initial 2021 proposed launch date. The Commission says the new system will improve security while reinforcing their commitment to greater access to visa-free travel.

Source: lonelyplanet
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