As tourism begins drifting back to pre-pandemic levels, many European countries have eased up on or changed their requirements. From COVID-19 requirements to new safety measures, the list of requirements has evolved.
With new systems such as the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS 2023) coming in, it’s time to get informed on what new requirements will be in store.
Latest COVID-19 changes
Most countries within the European Union continue to have some travel restrictions in place to control the spread of COVID-19. Here are some of the latest changes:
- Austria, Croatia, Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Spain: These countries continue to require masks within healthcare facilities and public transport; however, these countries no longer require proof of vaccination or negative test results for entry.
- The Czech Republic, Netherlands, Albania, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, and Switzerland: These countries no longer require any COVID-19 documentation such as vaccination proof or negative test results. They have also eliminated all mask requirements; although, Denmark strongly recommends mask usage within healthcare facilities. The Netherlands has eliminated all mask mandates with the exception of their airports.
- France: France continues to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results for entry; however, there is no mask mandate at the moment.
- Belarus: The country of Belarus should be avoided due to arbitrary local law enforcement, and the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine. If necessary, travel is possible under certain conditions, but all leisurely travel is banned. There are currently no COVID-19 restrictions.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This list is composed of the most popular European destinations and does not include all destinations. To learn more about current COVID-19 measures and travel restrictions in your specific European country of interest, please visit the Re-Open EU website.
Upcoming Changes: What is ETIAS?
The ETIAS is a new electronic system that keeps track of all Schengen Zone visa-exempt travelers. This system will be introduced on January 1, 2023, and mimics the U.S.’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
Check your eligibility and fill out the ETIAS form ahead of time to ensure safe travels.
The ETIAS will determine whether applicants are permitted to enter Schengen Zone countries. Traveler eligibility will be determined based on a detailed security check based on ETIAS form responses.
It is important to note that the ETIAS is not a visa by any means. Individuals who pass the ETIAS will be able to travel for a 90-day period within the EU; however, these individuals are not permitted to study or work within the country they visit. The only permitted activities are business and tourism.
Aside from business and tourism, medical and transit-driven travel will also be allowed by the ETIAS.
Cost and Validity
The cost of the ETIAS application is €7 for adults over 18 and is free for all minors. Infants and children must have the ETIAS application completed by their legal guardian.
The ETIAS will be valid for a 3-year period or until the expiration of the registered travel document on the application. In most cases, the registered document will be your passport.
If you currently have a Schengen visa, there is no need to apply for the ETIAS until your visa expires. Upon expiration, you can apply for the ETIAS if you are eligible.
Why is the ETIAS being introduced?
The main reason for the ETIAS’s creation is security. As stated by Jean-Claude Jucker, President of the European Commission, “We need to know who is crossing our borders. This way we will know who is traveling to Europe before they even get here”.
The ETIAS was made to ensure the safety of airport travel, tourists, and the host country. The form was created to decrease security concerns while gathering data on the person entering the country. If a person does not pass the security check, entry will be denied.
What are the participating countries?
The ETIAS will be required upon arrival in the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, 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.
Do UK Citizens need ETIAS?
The United Kingdom is not included in the participating countries due to its separation from the European Union. UK nationals will also need to apply for ETIAS travel authorization.
UK residents with European Union passports will need to apply for a regular Schengen visa instead of the ETIAS.
What type of questions will be asked?
Depending on your country of citizenship, questions may vary. The ETIAS application takes about 10 minutes to fill out and is comprised of the following questions:
What are ETIAS Application Questions?
- General Information such as:
- First name
- Last name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Citizenship Information
- Phone number and email
- Education and work experience
- First country of destination
- Medical background, counties of deportation or rejection, and criminal records
- For family visits, proof of relationship, residence card, or background information will be required.
Does my child need an ETIAS Form?
If you are traveling with a minor, the legal guardian must also fill out an ETIAS form.
In the event that the ETIAS finds you to be a risk, an extra interview or additional documents may be required. If these documents are not submitted, you will be denied.
What happens if I am denied ETIAS?
Denial can occur if there are any doubts regarding the traveler’s authenticity of information or documents provided.
Possible reasons for rejection include using stolen documents, illegal immigration risk, high epidemic risk, failure to provide extra information, or failure to complete additional interviews.
Users will know whether they are approved or rejected within minutes of submitting their application. In the event that you are rejected, you may appeal the decision. If your appeal is approved, you may adjust your application and try again.
What documents do I need for ETIAS Application?
The only document needed to fill out the ETIAS form is your passport. Your passport must be machine-readable and have a photo of you.
Ensure that the two lines of numbers, letters, and symbols below your passport photo are readable, this determines whether your passport is machine-readable.
Traveling can be stressful, especially with the extensive list of changes and new security measures. Thankfully, we do all the research so you don’t have to. Make sure to take note of the current and upcoming changes to ensure a successful trip to Europe!