ETIAS Visa Waiver for British
From 2022, British citizens will need to hold an ETIAS visa waiver before visiting the EU. Discover how to prepare for a trip to Europe and register with ETIAS now.
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information Authorization System. It is a new EU scheme designed to improve border management and security for the 26-country Schengen Area.
Once it launches in 2022, it will be necessary for visitors from third countries with a visa waiver agreement (such as the UK, USA, Canada and Australia) to acquire an ETIAS visa waiver before arriving in an EU Schengen country.
How does the ETIAS visa waiver work?
When it becomes necessary for UK citizens to hold an ETIAS for Europe to visit the EU, the system will function in a similar way to a United States ESTA or Canadian eTA visa waiver. This will require travellers to apply online for travel authorisation before departing for Europe.
Applying online for an ETIAS UK visa waiver is a straightforward and quick process to complete. Prospective travellers will only need to provide the following items:
- A valid UK passport
- An active email address
- A debit/credit card
Following approval, the ETIAS visa waiver is electronically linked with the traveller’s passport. Once it is issued, it will be valid for unlimited uses within a 3 year period or until the holder’s passport expires (whichever is first).
How long can UK citizens stay in Europe with ETIAS?
With the ETIAS for UK citizens, tourists will be able to stay in Europe for 90 days within any 180 day period. During this time, visitors will be able to travel in any of the 26 countries that make up the Schengen area without limits or passport checks.
Which Schengen countries will you need an ETIAS for?
It is necessary to have an ETIAS visa waiver to visit any EU country or any of the nations and micronations participating in the Schengen Area from 2022 onwards. This includes a total of 22 EU countries which can all be visited with the same travel authorisation.
You will need an ETIAS waiver to visit the following:
EFTA Schengen Countries:
- San Marino
- Vatican City
British Overseas Territories:
When will ETIAS be mandatory to travel to the EU from the UK?
ETIAS is currently scheduled to launch in 2022. It is expected that when it is introduced that it will become mandatory soon after. Once the system is launched and is a necessity, passengers arriving from the eligible third-countries will need to have a valid visa waiver to enter the Schengen Zone.
Travelling to Europe from the UK
After ETIAS is launched, visitors to the EU from the UK must apply for a valid visa waiver before they travel. This must be obtained online and linked with a British passport with at least 6 months of validity remaining. Travellers must also indicate the country that they will visit first whilst in the EU. This is to confirm where the visitor’s passport will be checked and where they will enter the free travel area. Also, airport and port terminal staff will check passengers’ documents to ensure they have the correct authorisation to enter the EU before boarding flights or ferries. Not holding an appropriate visa waiver could result in being denied permission to board.
On arrival in the EU, travellers will need to present the passport that has been registered for the visa waiver. Passengers may also carry a printed copy of the waiver approval as proof of validity.
If the border guard is satisfied with the visa waiver and passport presented, they will return the documents to the traveller and allow them to enter the EU. The visitor will then be able to spend up to 90 days in the Schengen Area.
ETIAS has been planned to help make the borders of the European Union more secure and easier to manage. The new visa waivers will help FRONTEX (the EU’s border control force) to pre-screen passengers before they arrive to ensure that they don’t pose any risks to local residents.
The new border security measures are also intended to speed up the process of entering the EU as a foreign citizen. It will allow FRONTEX to check each individual traveller comprehensively as they enter the Schengen Area faster than they do now.
The biggest difference between a Schengen Visa and an ETIAS visa waiver is that ETIAS is not a visa.
Whilst it is still a valid form of travel authorisation needed to enter Europe, the process of getting one is streamlined and simpler than the more bureaucratic and time-consuming procedure to get a full visa.
This is because ETIAS is only intended to be used by visitors travelling to Europe for short term purposes such as tourism and business trips (such as attending a conference or convention). The ETIAS authorisation allows holders to stay in Europe for 90 days at a time and does not permit people to work or take up employment in the EU.
To get a job in Europe or to stay for a period of longer than 90 days at a time, a full Schengen visa will be necessary instead. This must be obtained from an embassy or consulate for the EU country that will be the holder’s primary residence.
Yes, it is still necessary for UK citizens with ETIAS visa waivers to pass through border controls when entering the EU on a trip abroad. However, once in the Schengen Area, travellers may visit anywhere in the 26 country zone without further passport checks or border controls.