After ETIAS is introduced in 2018, those wanting to travel to Europe will need to apply for travel authorization in the form of an ETIAS. there will be a fee but not everyone will have to pay, children under 18 and people over 60 will be exempt from paying.

ETIAS validity: The ETIAS travel authorization will be valid for three years, or until the ETIAS holder’s passport expires. If someone’s passport expires before their ETIAS authorization, they will need to apply for a new ETIAS permit for Europe.

The ETIAS Application

The ETIAS online application process will be straight-forward and will be processed in less than 72 hours. It will include personal, travel, and security questions, the answers of which will be checked against various relevant databases including Europol and Interpol.

The online ETIAS application form will contain a section on personal data (including name, date and place of birth, sex and nationality), travel document information (validity, country of issue), home address and contact information, and the European country of first intended entry.

Applicants need to inform the European authorities of any serious criminal convictions (such as terrorism and murder), stays in specific conflict zones, and deportations over the last ten years. The applicant may be asked to answer extra security questions, and in rare cases may be invited for an interview.

Applications may be rejected in some cases. If this happens, he or she will be informed of the reasons, and of their rights to an appeal. Border guards will always have the final say on entry.

ETIAS application process: how it works

Stronger borders

After ETIAS is implemented, visa-free travelers to Europe will be screened using advanced checks. Those considered to be high-risk to Europe’s security will be denied access.

Kinga Gál, Hungarian European Member of Parliament (MEP) said: “ETIAS will bridge the existing information gap on visa-free travelers. Persons from a visa-exempt country outside the EU intending to travel to the Schengen area will be assessed before they arrive at the external border”.

“If they could illegally stay in the Schengen area or if they pose a high epidemic risk. It will significantly contribute to enhancing EU security and to stronger and smarter information systems for borders and security,” she said.

Visiting the EU

At the moment there are more than 60 territories whose citizens can travel visa-free to the EU. Over the next few years, the number of visa-exempt visitors traveling into the Schengen zone is expected to increase significantly. In 2014, there were 30 million, in 2021 it is expected to be 39 million.