ETIAS Visa for Europe

This is a summary and a repost of changes in the pipeline.

“Come 2020 the EU is planning to implement a new entry system designed to reduce illegal immigration and beef up security against terrorism, and this is going to affect how Australians travel around Europe. At its heart, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) adds another layer of approvals to the existing Schengen Agreement as it applies to Australians travelling in Europe.

Once the system is implemented in 2020, Australians planning to visit the EU will need to apply online for an ETIAS visa. You'll be asked security questions and required to provide details of your travel plans. Expect to be grilled, this is a counter-terrorism process. You'll also have to pay a fee, most likely €5. Only adults need the ETIAS visa. Minors – those under 18 – will need only their passport.

Unless you have the ETIAS visa you won't be allowed to board any aircraft, ferry, cruise ship or train heading for Europe. The ETIAS visa is valid for three years from the date of issue or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

Once you've obtained the ETIAS visa you can travel freely within the Schengen Area, which presently covers most of Europe with the exception of Britain, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania and the former countries that once made up Yugoslavia except for Slovenia. According to the ETIAS website, by the time 2020 comes along the ETIAS visa will apply to some of those countries as well, such as Croatia and Bulgaria. The rules for travel within that zone will stay the same as under the existing Schengen Area regulations, namely the right of Australians to stay within the zone and travel freely for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.”

Nothing definite has been announced yet. Watch this space.

By Vicki Williamson

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