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What are the ETIAS, the EU’s new entry system, and how will it affect your holiday?

We answer a few of your frequently asked questions about the EU’s new entry and exit system that will require non-EU citizens to provide their fingerprints.


Travellers making their way to and from Europe have needed to adjust to a number of new travel changes and restrictions in a post-Brexit world. Considering holidays are meant to be a relaxing and stress-free experience, these new adjustments can be a little bit of a headache. But using our travel expertise, we’re here to walk you through it.

In late 2023, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) are set to be introduced across 30 EU countries. This is a new entry and exit system (EES). Here's everything you need to know.

What is the EES?

EES is an automated IT system for registering travellers from the UK and other non-EU countries that will be utilised when they cross a border into or out of the EU.

Travellers will simply need to scan their passports (or other accompanying travel documents) at a self-service kiosk before they proceed to cross the border. The system will take down their name, type of travel document, biometric data (fingerprints and facial images), as well as the date and location of their entry and exit point.

What are the ETIAS?

The EES will work in conjunction with the ETIAS. The ETIAS is a travel authorisation for citizens of non-EU countries – that do not require a visa – to enter the EU. The system is entirely electronic, keeping track of travellers passing through these borders.

If you have been on holiday to the United States before, you would be familiar with the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) - and the ETIAS serves a similar role. 

When will the ETIAS be introduced?

Though the exact date is not yet set, the ETIAS system is set to be fully operational in November 2023.

Should I apply for an ETIAS?

If you are set to go on holiday in the EU in 2023 or beyond, you should fill out an application for the ETIAS. Before you do, ensure you meet all the following points: 

  • you are not an EU national
  • you are a citizen of a country whose nationals are not required to have a visa for a short-term stay in the countries requiring ETIAS
  • you do not have a residence permit issued by any of the countries requiring ETIAS

How do I apply for the ETIAS?

Once you have checked you meet all the criteria lised above, applying for an ETIAS is a straightforward and simple process. In fact, the majority of completed applications are processed within minutes.

Simply fill out this application form and pay the required fee (€7). If you are aged under 18 or more than 70 years of age, you are not required to pay the fee. You are also exempt if you are related to an EU citizen who has the right to freely move throughout the EU. 

Once you have completed the form, you will be emailed a confirmation of your application and your ETIAS application number. Later, once your application has been processed, you will receive a separate email noting the outcome of the application.

How long will my ETIAS remain valid?

Your ETIAS will be valid for three years or until the travel document you included in your application has expired - whichever document reaches the expiry date first.

How long can I remain in these European countries on my ETIAS?

As the ETIAS are valid for short-term stays, you should be well covered if you are just visiting for a holiday. Within any 180-day period, you can stay for up to 90 days in the countries requiring an ETIAS.

Which countries require ETIAS?

The following 30 European countries require you to have an ETIAS if you are a visa-exempt traveller:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Does the UK have the equivalent of ETIAS for incoming travellers?

The UK Government is also scheduled to launch a similar system as the ETIAS for non-UK travellers who plan to travel to the UK, which will occur in late 2024. This will be called the Electronic Travel Authorisation. 

If you have any further questions, take a look at the European Commission webpage and their FAQs.

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