Table of Contents

Show more
Show less

From mid-2025, UK travellers must apply for a special permit to visit certain European countries. 

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is a visa waiver that non-EU nationals will need to visit 30 participating countries on the Continent.

The system aims to improve border security by pre-screening visitors before they arrive in a participating ETIAS country. 

It will cost 7 EUR (roughly £6) to apply for an ETIAS authorisation. However, this fee will be waived if you are under the age of 18 or over the age of 70 at the time of applying. 

Once approved, a valid ETIAS visa waiver lasts for three consecutive years. It covers travel for short-term stays, such as a holiday or business trip, of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. 

Let’s take a closer look at how the ETIAS visa waiver works and what it means if you’re planning a trip to Europe.

Compare Travel Insurance Quotes

Compare from our range of over 100 policies

What is ETIAS?

ETIAS is a visa waiver that non-EU nationals will need to visit 30 European countries. Currently, 27 of the participating ETIAS countries make up the Schengen area of Europe. The remaining three countries – Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania – have begun the process to become full Schengen members. 

The Schengen area allows residents to travel freely between each state through an open border system. 

Under ETIAS, non-EU travellers – who don’t currently require a visa to visit these countries – must complete an online security screening application before setting off to their destination. 

An estimated 1.4 billion people from over 60 countries, including the United Kingdom, will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver when the system launches.

ETIAS aims to improve border security and create a safer travel environment by identifying possible security, health and migration threats or risks. 

It is an automated system that will work in a similar way to the visa waiver needed for travel to the United States, called an ESTA, or the ETA system used for travel to Australia and Canada. The UK government also plans to introduce a similar visa waiver for non-UK travellers by the end of 2024.

The European Commission first proposed ETIAS in April 2016 and was initially due to start in 2021. However, the launch was postponed several times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and insufficient infrastructure to run the system efficiently. ETIAS is now scheduled to roll out in mid-2025.

How does ETIAS work?

The ETIAS visa waiver allows UK travellers to visit participating European countries for tourism or business. It only covers short-stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period. 

You may need to apply for a visa if you are planning to travel for longer than 90 days or you want to work or study in a country requiring ETIAS. 

ETIAS is linked to your passport, so you won’t need to carry a separate document around with you. A valid ETIAS visa waiver lasts for up to three years or until the passport expires (whichever comes first.) That means you will need to apply for a new ETIAS authorisation if you get a new passport. 

It’s worth noting that an ETIAS visa waiver may be cancelled at any time if you no longer meet the legal conditions to visit a participating country. 

If your ETIAS is revoked, you will receive an email explaining the decision along with details about how to make an appeal.

Which countries require an ETIAS?

Thirty countries will require non-EU nationals to have a valid ETIAS visa waiver from 2025. 

You will need to provide your passport along with any other documents specified as part of the entry requirements for the country you’re visiting.

Who needs to apply for ETIAS?

Travellers must apply for an ETIAS visa waiver if they:

  • are not an EU national
  • are a citizen of a country, including the United Kingdom, whose nationals are not required to have a visa for stays of up to 90 days within any 180-day period to enter a European country requiring ETIAS
  • do not have a residence permit, card or document issued by any of the European countries requiring ETIAS.

Some travellers may be exempt from ETIAS. For instance, you won’t need to apply if you are already travelling in Europe under another type of visa. Travellers with a valid passport or citizenship in a country using the ETIAS system are also exempt.

How to apply for ETIAS

Once ETIAS launches, you can make an application online or via the mobile app. You must have a valid passport that is less than 10 years old and has at least three months of validity left on it to apply. 

The ETIAS application includes a series of questions to confirm details about your background and you will need to provide the following information:

  • personal details including your full name, date of birth, nationality, home address, parents’ first names, email address and contact number. 
  • passport or travel document details
  • details about your education and current employment
  • how long you intend to travel and stay in any of the countries requiring ETIAS
  • details about any criminal convictions, past travels to war or conflict zones and whether you have recently been subject to a decision requiring you to leave the territory of a country.

Most ETIAS applications will be processed within minutes. However, it may take up to 30 days if additional checks or documents are needed. 

You will not be allowed to board a flight, train or other form of transport to a participating ETIAS country without a valid visa waiver.

So, it’s essential to apply before booking your trip to give yourself enough time to get ETIAS approval.

How much does an ETIAS application cost?

A non-refundable fee of 7 EUR (currently around £6) will apply to all ETIAS applications for travellers aged between 18 and 70 years at the time of applying. 
Travellers under the age of 18 or those over the age of 70 at the time of applying won’t need to pay the fee. It’s worth noting that you can only pay for an ETIAS application using a debit or credit card.

Avoid unauthorised ETIAS sites

Several imitation websites claiming to be affiliated with ETIAS have surfaced, which the EU has described as ‘concerning.’ 

Some of these websites are already collecting personal details from budding travellers by claiming to offer eligibility checks or assistance with completing ETIAS applications. 

There is only one official website that processes applications for ETIAS – which is available at Currently, no information is being collected on the website as applications have not opened yet. 

It’s essential to check the URL of a website carefully to ensure that you use the authourised EU system to avoid being caught out.

Compare Travel Insurance Quotes

Compare from our range of over 100 policies

Your ETIAS checklist

Whether you have booked a trip to Europe or are just planning your next getaway it’s important to get your travel documents in order. The following steps will help ensure that your ETIAS visa waiver is in place before you depart:

  • apply in advance ideally before you book your transport or accommodation 
  • check your application details to ensure that they are correct and avoid delays in your visa waiver being approved
  • make sure your ETIAS is valid before setting off on your trip to ensure you can travel to a participating country
  • check your passport meets the entry requirements of the countries you plan on visiting. It will need to be less than 10 years old and have at least three months of validity after the day you plan to leave for most European countries. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When will ETIAS be launched?

ETIAS is scheduled to come into effect from mid-2025. There may be an initial grace period of 3-6 months during which ETIAS isn’t mandatory for travel to allow the EU to identify and resolve complications that arise in the early stages of the rollout.

What happens if an ETIAS visa waiver is denied?

You won’t be able to travel to a participating ETIAS country if your application is denied. you will receive an email explaining why your application was refused and it will also share details about how to appeal the decision.

Can I submit a group application?

No, it is only possible to submit individual ETIAS applications because the visa waiver is linked to the passport of the traveller applying.

Source link