Travel authorization program, ETIAS implementing in 2024

So What is ETIAS?

ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It’s an electronic system that will keep track of visitors from countries who need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. It is similar to the Department of Homeland Security’s ESTA Program in the USA. This program is required for all travelers going to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

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When Did This Begin?

The legal procedures to pass ETIAS started back in 2016. While it was supposed to be implemented in 2022, it is now scheduled to be fully operational in 2024. The reasons for the postponement, have never been made clear. Originally, maybe they bit off more than they could chew.


JUST ANNOUNCED: September 26, 2023

ETIAS was originally supposed to go into effect in 2021. However, the system has faced numerous delays in its launch, with the latest date scheduled for “sometime in 2024”. But recent media reports are now saying ETIAS will now not launch until May 2025.


What Exactly is This Travel Authorization Program?

ETIAS will undergo a detailed security check of each applicant to determine whether it is safe for people to enter Schengen countries. This travel authorization program will be used for business and tourist purposes. This program will also allow people to visit the Schengen countries for medical and transit reasons.

What Countries Are in the Schengen Area?

There are 27 Schengen countries. They are:

Austria

Belgium

Czech Republic

Croatia

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Italy

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Travel authorization program, ETIAS implementing in 2024
photo credit: travel Europe
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How Will ETIAS Function?

First of all, ETIAS is not a visa, it’s an electronic travel authorization, also commonly known as a visa waiver. Non-EU citizens from visa-waiver countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States will need to apply.

You will fill out an online application form which they indicate will take approximately ten minutes. Furthermore, the system will conduct a check against EU information systems for borders and security and, in most cases, issue a travel authorization within minutes.

Also, they are still anticipating a limited number of cases where travel authorization could take up to 30 days. Again, the ETIAS travel authorization will be a mandatory pre-condition for entry to the Schengen countries.

Finally, there should be no confusion that there are countries in the EU that are not members of the Schengen Zone.

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In Conclusion

It is expected that the ETIAS will affect 1.4 billion people from over 60 different countries who currently travel to the Schengen Area without having to obtain a short-stay visa.

Use this website to stay on top of when the official launch date will be. Since this is going to be mandatory, you should share this information with friends and relatives who might not be aware of this. Most noteworthy, ETIAS is currently not in operation and no applications are being collected at this point.

Also, Shari commented on this post and asked if this also pertained to cruises. Here is the official answer, “will need to have been approved for the visa when boarding flights or cruises to any of the 30 European countries part of the program.”

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Additional information can be found in our previous post:

ETIAS Travel 2023 | What You Need to Know


Editor’s Note:  This article was initially published on April 13, 2023, and was updated in February 2024 for accuracy and additional information.

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Travel authorization program, ETIAS implementing in 2024

9 Comments

  1. Thank you for the continued updates on this development – I appreciate the insights for us who are not as much “in-the-know”. I need to figure out how to “subscribe” to that site so I can be notified of updates.

  2. You are welcome Angelo. I’m not sure there is a subscription for updates but we will definitely post on our social media and update this post as soon as we hear.

  3. Thank you once again for all the helpful information. Is it possible to have a “Print” version of your Blog Posts? I would love to print some – especially the one on the new ETIAS requirements.
    Really appreciate you sharing all this good information. We do plan to return in 2024 so this was “need to know” information!

    1. We don’t offer a print version but you can try and ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ the infromation from this post into a Word document. I hope this helps you and if not, please email us back and I will work up a copy for you. Thank you.

    1. Sheri, the answer is YES – “will need to have been approved for the visa when boarding flights or cruises to any of the 30 European countries part of the program” Thanks for the comment – adding to the post!

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