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ETIAS for travellers to EU delayed

The EU has delayed the introduction of a €7 visa-waiver form to enter its passport-free zone, meaning non EU travellers including the British are unlikely to face the charge until 2024 at the earliest.

Although the UK is now outside the EU, British citizens do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Area and stay short-term, however when the new system eventually comes in, all non-EU travellers will need to apply for ETIAS, which will be valid for three years.

The European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS), which applies to non-EU citizens from 60 countries that have visa-free travel with the EU, is now scheduled to start operating from November 2023. Travellers will then benefit from a six-month transition period while border authorities run information campaigns on the new requirements.

Etias, which is modelled on the US Esta scheme, means non-EU travellers will have to fill in a form and pay €7 (£5.91) before entering Europe’s passport-free zone. The €7 fee will apply to everyone aged between 18 and 70 and is valid for multiple visits over three years. In most cases approval is expected to be granted within minutes.

Etias had been scheduled to start operating at the end of 2022, then May 2023, but has been postponed by a further six months. The European Commission published the new start date on its website, without providing a reason for the delay. According to an EU source, the six-month transition period will be followed by a grace period of unknown length when travellers crossing the EU border for the first time under the requirements will be given some leeway.

Easier travel for British visitors to Europe?

It has been suggested the scheme could simplify life for British travellers. Most travel experts believe that it will ease the delays at the borders between the EU and UK. “Having an Etias means that Britons will be able to skip some of the checks they undergo now, as all their information will be available in their Etias. Border guards won’t even have to ask the questions that they ask now” said Besart Bajrami, founder of SchengenVisaInfo.com.

The requirement has raised some criticism in the United Kingdom, where some believe that the ETIAS is equal to a travel visa. In fact, ETIAS could not be more different than a visa, as travellers who need to obtain it only need to fill in a short form online and upload a scan of their passport. The fee for an ETIAS is only €7 and is paid online. There is no requirement for an appointment at an EU embassy or for providing biometrics.

How it will work

The form will be required to enter all countries inside the EU’s border-free zone, including Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania, which are yet to join the Schengen area. Citizens from Ireland, an EU member state not in the Schengen zone, will be exempt from the Etias form.

The ETIAS application is expected to take about 10 minutes to fill out. It will be online, so you will not have to go through paperwork. This also means that travellers will not need to be in the United Kingdom when they are applying for the visa waiver.

UK Citizens are eligible to apply for the ETIAS waiver for travel to the Schengen Area. Below, ETIAS UK applicants can find a list of requirements that each traveller must have:
  • A valid United Kingdom (or other ETIAS approved country) passport
  • A credit or debit card, which will be used to pay for the ETIAS application fee
  • An active email address
  • The UK passport must be valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the Schengen Area
  • Each traveller must complete the ETIAS application form
The ETIAS application for UK citizens will be completed entirely online.

In addition to paying the ETIAS fee by credit or debit card, UK nationals applying for the ETIAS visa waiver will need to provide the following information:
  • Personal information that includes the traveller’s full name, their date and place of birth, and their gender
  • Contact details including current address, email address, and phone number
  • Passport details including the passport number and country of issue, the date of issue, and the date of expiration
  • Travel plans such as which country travellers will enter and which other countries they intend on visiting
Once issued you will not need to apply for another ETIAS for three years and you will not require any visa for visiting EU Schengen countries.

Note, all information and pricing is correct at the time of publication in February 2023.

Index : Holiday Reports, Travel Blogs and Campsite Features : ETIAS for travellers to EU delayed - by UKCampsite.co.uk

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