Next year, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will come into effect, requiring travellers from visa-free countries to complete an online form before flying into any country in the EU or Schengen Area which will cost €7 (US$7) per person.
Travellers belonging to select countries which have been exempted from applying for EU visas will be required to register for ETIAS. This includes visitors from the US, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and more. Registering for ETIAS involves filling up an online form, following which, travellers aged between 18 to 70 years old have to pay €7 as a processing fee.
Most applications would be processed and approved within minutes, though there are “very exceptional cases”, as CNN quotes the EU as saying, that could take up to a month. Those whose applications are denied will be given the option to appeal.
ETIAS was approved by the European Union in 2016 in a bid to improve border security. It was originally expected that the pre-screening platform would be ready by the end of 2021 and fully implemented 2022, but Covid delayed its launch.
Instead, ETIAS will now go live in May 2023. To allow travellers to ease into the new system, Schengen member states will hand out leaflets at border checkpoints to inform travellers about the imminent launch at the beginning of 2023.
According to reports, ETIAS registration would possibly be optional in its initial months following its launch. After its initial implementation period, ETIAS will be compulsory for travellers from eligible non-EU countries to visit visa-free.