European Travel Information and Authorisation System to be launched in 2024
Some 1.4 billion people from more than 60 visa-free countries, including travellers from the US and the UK, will have to get permission through the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to enter most European countries from 2024, The Brussels Times writes.
From next year, an ETIAS travel authorisation will be linked to travellers' passports. The permit will be valid for three years, unless the passport expires earlier. It will allow travellers to enter the territory of 30 European countries - the 27 Schengen countries plus Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus - as often as they like for stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
ETIAS is an electronic entry point, an authorisation for travellers from currently visa-free countries. However, it does not guarantee entry, as specific travel documents are still required for nationals of certain visa-free countries.
The European Commission describes ETIAS as an automated IT system to identify possible security or irregular migration risks of visitors travelling to the Schengen area without a visa. The new requirements are a response to the growing fear of terrorism in recent decades. ETIAS will make it easier to track who is coming and going.
From 2024, all passport holders from 60 countries, who currently can travel to most European destinations without a visa, will need an ETIAS authorisation. With Brexit, the UK is now one of the countries on this list.
While a Schengen visa application can take up to 15 or 30 to 60 days in exceptional cases, the ETIAS online application only takes a few minutes. However, it is advisable to apply well in advance.
The application website is not live yet, but once it is, all the necessary forms can be filled in via a web portal or a mobile phone application. The application costs 7 euros, though the process is free for some travellers, including under-18s, over-70s and family members of EU citizens. More information is available on the EU website.
© BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR