Explaining ETIAS – The Visa Waiver Scheme

ETIAS, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, launches in mid 2025, and is a visa waiver scheme for Non EU nationals visiting countries in the Schengen area, including Spain and The Canary Islands.

Stage One – EES – Autumn 2024

The first stage of this will be the introduction of EES – Entry and exit system – at all Schengen borders, including Lanzarote. EES will be operational here from autumn 2024.

The system will replace the current passport stamping by registering a person’s information – including name, travel document type and biometric information, such as fingerprints and facial images.

The EES will also record if a traveller has been refused entry before or has overstayed their welcome in the block.

Stage Two – ETIAS – Mid 2025

Price and validity

Application for the ETIAS will cost €7 and be valid for a period of three years, giving holders the right to visit all countries in the Schengen area. For those under 18 or over 70, the ETIAS will be free of charge.

The ETIAS will be attached to a person’s passport and will be valid for three years or until the passport expires, if earlier. It will allow people to stay in the bloc for up to 90 days in any rolling 180 day period.

No Passport stamps required

Once the system is up and running, it will be entirely electronic, with E Gates scanning passports and cross checking to ensure an ETIAS is in place, speeding up entry.

Required information

The ETIAS application will request the following information:

  • Personal information including your name(s), surname, date and place of birth, nationality, home address, parents’ first names, email address and phone number
  • Passport information
  • Details about your education and occupation
  • Details about any criminal convictions and previous travel to war /conflicted zones and any deportation decisions

You should apply for ETIAS travel authorisation before booking your travel. The majority of applications should be approved within 96 hours of submission. Some applicants may be requested to hold an interview with the authorities which could take up to 30 days.

The ETIAS will not be required for third country residents who live in EU Countries already.

Why has this been put in place?

It should speed up entry to Schengen countries and it’s a way of improving the security of EU member states within the Schengen region by capturing data on travellers that currently visit the area without a visa.

The ETIAS will pre-screen travellers from “third-countries”, who are citizens from countries not needing a Schengen Visa. The screening relates to terrorism or migration related risks. The objective is to identify individuals who pose security threats before they are able to travel to the Schengen area. It will also help to ensure visitors do not overstay their 90 days in any rolling 180 days within the zone.

It’s very similar to the ESTA scheme that has been in place for visitors to The United States for many years, and the UK are also implementing a similar scheme which will be called ETA.

How do I apply?

This link will take you to the official ETIAS website, but it’s not open for applications at this time. Bookmark the page and come back here once it’s open for applications, or subscribe to our newsletter below and we’ll let you know the moment, it’s open: Official ETIAS website.

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