Starting in January 2024, 30 countries in Europe will require travel authorization from nationals of more than 60 visa-exempt countries. The European Travel Information & Authorization System (ETIAS) is being implemented to “further strengthen the EU’s internal security while aiming to enhance the safety of European citizens and visitors alike,” Global Marine Travel (GMT) explains in a recent blog.
European countries planning to implement this travel authorization include France, Greece, Italy, Malta, The Netherlands, and Spain. (Check out the full list.) ETIAS will apply to citizens from, amongst others, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. and others that do not currently require visas. (Check out the full list.)
The travel authorization is connected to your passport and is valid for up to three years or until the passport expires, whichever is first. If you get a new passport, you will need to get a new ETIAS authorization before traveling to Europe. The authorization allows you to enter those 30 participating European countries as often as you wish for short-term stays, which is usually up to 90 days within a 180-day period. As with all visas and travel documentation, a valid ETIAS does not guarantee a person entry into any country; your credentials will still be evaluated by customs or border patrol.
While the official EU Travel Europe site says most applications will likely be processed in minutes, it does caution that it’s possible that your application could take longer. The site claims you should then get a decision within four days, but it could be extended to 14 days if they require more info, or even 30 days if your application requires an interview.
“My recommendation is to [apply] as soon as you make that travel booking,” says Tim Davey, founder and managing director at Global Marine Travel (GMT). “That way, if there’s anything that’s not right, you can have a chance to correct it well in advance of your trip and you’re not getting into a last-minute panic.” If there is a hiccup in your application and you are denied, they should supply you with a reason why. “Then it’s up to that person to go and correct it,” Davey says.
He also emphasizes that the travel authorization is not a visa. “It’s got nothing to do with any other work permits or business visas that people normally should apply for and is mainly aimed at tourists.”
GMT recommends that crewmembers from affected countries also get the travel authorization since they may be traveling in and out of the 30 European countries now requiring ETIAS.
Plans are that when the implementation begins in 2024, applicants should be able to apply online or through an app, and GMT also plans to offer assistance in the process. ETIAS travel authorization will be €7.