ETIAS - NEW requirements to travel to Europe

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Europe accounts for roughly half of all of the world's tourist arrivals. And with France alone being the world’s most visited country, this makes Europe the number one tourist destination in the world by far.

However, as of 2025, the European Union plans to introduce a new system of requirements for the countless travelers hoping to enter its borders in the future. This new system — commonly known as ETIAS — has been generating quite a buzz worldwide in recent years. And if you too are planning on heading to the top tourist destination in the world any time soon — you should probably know what all the fuss is about too. That’s why AXA has compiled all the essentials you need to know about ETIAS below.

What is ETIAS?

ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. The system was originally proposed by the European Commission back in 2016, with both the European Parliament and the European Council then giving it the green light in September 2018. Since then, however, the implementation of ETIAS has been postponed more than once.

When it is finally implemented, however, ETIAS will essentially be an electronic (i.e., online) screening system. As such, it will require some 1.4 billion people — from over 60 visa-exempt countries — to apply for proper travel authorization to enter the 27 countries in the Schengen Zone (as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania).

The idea is similar — both in name and function — to the U.S.’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (aka ESTA). Australia, Canada, and New Zealand already have similar systems in place as well.

The planned January 2024 implementation date for ETIAS seems to have once again been postponed — this time to May 2025. And the implementation will be followed, in theory, by a six-month adjustment/grace period.

What is the purpose of ETIAS?

The main purpose of ETIAS is to add a new level of security for the 30 European nations that plan to take part in its implementation.

Citizens of dozens of countries do not need to apply for a visa for travel of up to 90 days in the EU, for example. And their screening process to enter Europe’s borders is, therefore, less rigorous than it is for those requiring visas. With ETIAS, Europe hopes to ensure that these citizens do not pose a security threat to its nations.

Thus, ETIAS’ main role will be to conduct a detailed security check on each of its applicants — as well as keep track of and update any relevant information on said applicants. It will thereby be able to determine whether applicants should be allowed to enter, stay in, and/or travel between any of the 30 countries above.

Which countries will require ETIAS approval for travelers to enter their borders?

The European Union’s official ETIAS website offers a full list of the 30 European nations on board to require ETIAS approval for travelers in 2025 here.

Which travelers will need ETIAS approval?

Generally speaking, you will need an ETIAS travel authorization if:

  • you are not a national of the European Union;
  • you are a citizen of a country whose nationals are not required to have a visa for short-term stays (of up to 90 days within a 180-day period) in the European countries requiring ETIAS;
  • you do not have a residence permit/card/document issued by any of the 30 European countries requiring ETIAS.

In short, to enter any of the 30 countries in the list above, nationals of roughly 60 visa-exempt countries will require ETIAS approval. And you can see a full list of these countries here.

Do U.S. and/or U.K. citizens need ETIAS approval?

Yes. Both U.S. and U.K. passport holders will need ETIAS approval as of 2025 (in theory). As will citizens of Australia, Canada, Brazil, and so on.

So whether you’re just going to the number one tourist destination in the world (i.e., France) or planning to hit Italy, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Spain, or any other Schengen member state while you’re at it — you will need to apply for ETIAS approval.

Speaking of the U.K. — do U.S. citizens need a visa for the U.K. in 2023?

No. As of 2023, U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter the United Kingdom for stays of up to six months (within a 180-day period).

What about in 2024 (and beyond)?

Well, that’s another story. Because the Brits are working on an upcoming security update of their own too.

Similar to its U.S. and European counterparts in both function and name (albeit shorter), the U.K.’s version of ESTA and ETIAS will simply be called Electronic Travel Authorisation (aka ETA).

And, in theory, ETA will also require U.S. citizens to be screened and approved to enter U.K.’s borders. ETA is currently set to be implemented starting February 1st, 2024.

Will travelers with dual citizenship need ETIAS approval?

Well, that depends. If you are a European passport holder of a Schengen member country — then you’re in luck (i.e., you will not need ETIAS approval to enter the Schengen zone).

However, if neither of your citizenships is from the Schengen Zone, then you will be required to have a valid ETIAS upon your arrival in Europe.

PRO TIP: Some travelers may be exempt from getting an ETIAS travel authorization. On the other hand, some visa-required travelers may also opt (or even need) to apply. And while ETIAS is still in the works, the details on this can already get a bit extensive. So make sure to consult the official website’s FAQs about exemptions to see whether you need to apply or not.

Meanwhile, AXA can tell you all about the Schengen Visa (and whether you need one) here.

How much does an ETIAS approval application cost?

Applying for ETIAS approval on the official website (or via the upcoming app) will cost 7€, and — according to the official website — you can use “a variety of online payment methods.”

Minors (under 18 years of age) and the elderly (70 years of age or older), however, are exempt from the application fee.

When and how can I apply for ETIAS approval?

Again, it currently seems that ETIAS will not be in operation until 2025. And no applications will therefore be collected until that point.

But, in theory, the application process will be fairly simple and straightforward. You’ll just need to fill out an ETIAS application form, which is expected to take about 10 minutes to complete. And this can be done via their website or upcoming app. In other words, no physical paperwork.

And you’ll also need the following:

  • Personal information including your name(s), surname, date and place of birth, nationality, home address, parents’ first names, email address and phone number;
  • Travel document details;
  • Details about your level of education and current occupation;
  • Details about your intended travel and stay in any of the countries requiring ETIAS;
  • Details about any criminal convictions, any past travels to war or conflict zones, and whether you have recently been subject of a decision requiring you to leave the territory of any country.

Minors will need to have their legal guardians apply, while family members of EU citizens from other countries will need to submit proof of relationship and other background information.

How long will my ETIAS approval take?

Fortunately, the approval process is expected to be completed in only a few minutes too. That is, as long as you’re not deemed a risk.

However, if there are any issues, the application might need to be processed manually — in which case you likely may be looking at anywhere between four to 30 days.

What type of travel can I use my ETIAS approval for?

ETIAS approval grants you travel for business, transit, and/or tourist purposes. It will also allow travelers to visit the Schengen Zone for medical reasons.

What if my ETIAS application is denied?

If your ETIAS application is denied, you will be given a reason as to why. You can then either appeal this decision and/or adjust your application and try again.

How long will my ETIAS approval be valid for?

If approved, the ETIAS authorization will either be valid for three years or until the end of the validity of your travel document — whichever of these comes first.

Do I need travel insurance to apply for ETIAS approval?

No. Unlike with a Schengen Visa, having travel and/or medical insurance is not a requirement to be eligible for ETIAS authorization.

However, seeing as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., the U.S., and Europe are all upping their levels of overall travel security in recent years — it’s definitely not a bad call to have your Eurotrip ensured too. Be it for 2023, 2024, or beyond.

And AXA’s travel insurance plans cover you in all 27 Schengen Member states (and beyond), are accepted by all Schengen embassies and consulates, and start at as little as 22€/week. You can learn more about a plan that works for you and your family here.

How to stay “in the know” regarding ETIAS

And, finally, AXA is determined to continue doing its best to provide you with both exceptional travel insurance and the most up-to-date info on the border requirements for your trip to Europe. But remember that ETIAS is still a work in progress.

So with that in mind, while we hope you find the above information helpful, you should also double-check with the official ETIAS website for the latest developments when planning your trip.

Do I need ETIAS in 2023?

No. ETIAS only goes into effect in 2025.

Can I apply for ETIAS before 2025?

No. You can only apply once ETIAS goes live.

Which EU countries are exempt from ETIAS?

The only country currently in the EU that will not require ETIAS approval is Ireland. However this might change by the time ETIAS is implemented.

Is ETIAS the same as a visa?

No. ETIAS authorization is not a visa. Unlike Schengen Visas - ETIAS authorization will be valid for an unlimited number of entries - for example.

Can an ETIAS travel authorization be revoked?

Yes. Authorization can be revoked if the conditions for issuing your ETIAS no longer apply or if you are found to have violated any of the ETIAS rules and regulations.