The Ultimate Guide to Europe’s ETIAS Travel Authorization

european union flag passport shutterstock 1774895348

Road Affair is reader-supported and may earn commission from purchases made through links in this article.

Everyone dreams of an incredible European vacation. Whether you’re planning to visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris, stroll the streets of Amsterdam, or relax on a beach in Barcelona, the very first thing you need to do is submit an ETIAS application. Beginning at the end of 2022 this will be required to enter the European Union. Because there are so many questions surrounding the ETIAS travel authorization this guide has been put together to walk you through everything you need to know.

What is ETIAS?

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is an IT system that will increase security checks for those traveling to the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania from visa-exempt nations. The ETIAS travel authorization will not be required for those traveling to Ireland. It’s scheduled to become operational at the end of 2022 and become mandatory in 2023. The exact date from which travelers will be able to apply will be published here.

The objectives for the mainly automated system are better border management and prevention of cross-border terrorism and crimes. It will focus on risks related to irregular migration, security, and high epidemics. This information will allow them to better assess the risk individuals pose to the European Union. For travelers who don’t pose any of those risks, the system will simplify the process of crossing the border. 

What is the Difference Between ETIAS and a Schengen Visa?

Citizens of more than 100 nations need a Schengen visa to travel to the Schengen Area. This process includes several steps, a fee of about €80, and usually at least two weeks of waiting. If you are required to apply for a Schengen Visa then you don’t need to submit an ETIAS application.

The ETIAS travel authorization is not a visa. Nationals of visa-exempt countries will continue to enter the EU without a visa, but will be required to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization. ETIAS will be similar to systems already in place in countries like Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It’s an easy online application that should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and will offer quick results, in most cases.

Who Can Apply for ETIAS?

If you’re a national of the US, the UK, Australia, or one of the other 62 countries that are exempt from the Schengen Visa, then you must complete the ETIAS travel authorization.

How Much Does the ETIAS Application Cost?

The cost is €7 and it will only be applicable for travelers between the ages of 18 and 70. You’ll pay the fee online with a credit or debit card then you’ll be given access to the application form. 

How to Apply for ETIAS?

The ETIAS application can be completed online or via an app on your mobile device. Be sure you have your passport ready when completing the application. In addition to the information listed in your passport you’ll also need to provide:

  • Address
  • Email
  • Phone Number
  • Education and work history
  • The first EU country you intend to visit
  • Maiden name (if applicable)
  • Answers to background and eligibility questions 

How Long Does the ETIAS Process Take?

The process of completing the ETIAS application should take between 5 – 10 minutes. In most cases you’ll have your results almost immediately. If further checks are needed after you complete your application then results may take up to 30 days.

What if My ETIAS Application is Not Approved?

If your application is not approved you will be notified of which member state made the decision and why. You’ll have the option to appeal the decision or adjust your application and try again. You’ll be given instructions for the appeal process if you’re not approved. 

How Long is My ETIAS Valid for?

The ETIAS travel authorization is valid for three years or until your passport expires, whichever time period is shorter.

However, your travel authorization can be revoked if evidence is found that you provided fraudulent information on your application or if the conditions for issuing the travel authorization no longer apply.

Does an ETIAS Approval Guarantee Entry into the Schengen Area? 

No. Ultimately the border authorities make the final decision about whether or not you can enter the Schengen Area.

While it’s another step for travelers, the simple and quick ETIAS authorization will ultimately make your visit to Europe safer and more enjoyable.