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Changes to EU travel access rules from 2020

February 21, 20183 minute read
EU travel access

Changes to the EU travel access rules will be made  from 2020 that will affect travellers from at least 60 countries. This affects entry into Europe’s Schengen area countries which currently allow easy movement across borders once you’ve entered the first. This initiative is a response to recent events leading to uncontrolled immigration across Europe.

EU travel access – things to know

The new immigration process is known as the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).

  • The ETIAS is a mandatory requirement and applies to citizens of countries granted visa-free access to the EU.
  • ETIAS is for short stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period.  If you plan to stay for a longer period, you will need to apply for a visa.

Around 60 countries currently enjoy visa-free access to the EU.

How do I check?

  • Check on the link above to see if your passport is included. The checking boxes are at the bottom of the page.
  • The information available on the page will advise you of the specific requirements for your nationality. There is also information about how long you can stay and the visa requirements for a longer visit.
  • Your country’s Embassy/Consulate details are also shown, with a map.


The ETIAS is an online authorisation that only applies to citizens who are from countries that enjoy visa-free access to the EU. Application must be made prior to entering Europe’s Schengen Area.

  • Application should be made at least 72 hours ahead of travel. The process takes about 10 minutes, but allow time for processing.
  • ETIAS costs €10.
  • All individuals travelling, alone or in a group, need to be authorised.
  • Applicants under the age of 18 do not need to pay the processing fee.
  • You need to provide:
    • Personal details & details of your valid passport/travel document
    • Permanent residential address, contact details (emails and phone numbers)
    • Details of any convictions for serious criminal offences
  • The approving authority will cross-check against various EU information systems (e.g. SIS, VIS, Europol, Interpol, Eurodac) and against an ETIAS watchlist.
  • Approval will be sent by email. Rejection, with reasons, will also be sent by email.
  • An ETIAS is valid for 3 years from the date of issue, or the length of the passport, whichever comes first.

These 33 countries are parties to the Schengen Convention:

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

Our earlier story on Visas for UK & Europe will be updated as and when other changes are announced.

# ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), EU travel, Immigration clearance and customs checks, Visas
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