British holidaymakers could be denied access into many EU countries if they do not buy a travel permit when introduced, potentially ruining holidays.
The scheme is called the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and has been introduced following Brexit – adding to growing barriers to European travel from the UK.
The ETIAS is set to be introduced in 2024 after initially being planned for 2022. The delay was thought to be because of needing to update travel infrastructures and the onset of the COVID pandemic.
Once implemented, every traveller will need the document to enter most countries within the EU.
Travel permits will be available to buy online when the scheme launches properly and will cost around €7 (£6) for people over 18. Travellers under 18 or over 70 will receive their ETIAS free of charge.
ETIAS will be used to keep track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone, and to enhance border security. Before Brexit, British tourists could travel and work in most of Europe, freely.
It is designed for short-term stays of 90 days or less, and includes travel for business, pleasure, medical reasons, or if you are transiting through the EU to a further destination.
Starting in 2024, it will be a requirement to be a full British citizen before applying for ETIAS, so travellers from the UK holding a different passport will need to apply for a full Schengen visitor visa instead.
There is a chance you could be denied an ETIAS if you give the wrong information online, are a convicted criminal or are on a travel watch list.
You will need to present the document on arrival at your travel destination and could be refused to fly or denied entry into the EU without one.
Similar to a US ESTA, it is expected to be processed and approved within minutes. It will also be valid for three years from the date of issue, making it easier for future travel.
The European countries that will require a valid ETIAS upon arrival at their borders include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
An up-to-date travel list can be found on the Schengen website. For more information about Etias for British citizens visit etias.com