24 Nov

European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS)

The European Commission has published its proposal for the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).

Please note that this proposal is not a response to Brexit; it has been expected for a number of years and is based on the US ESTA.

What is it?

  • ETIAS is an automated system created to identify any risks associated with visa-exempt visitors travelling to the Schengen area.
  • All visa-exempt (third country) non-EU nationals who plan to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for the travel authorisation online or through a mobile app prior to their trip.
  • The aim is to help identify persons who might pose an irregular migration, security or health risk before they arrive at the border and significantly enhance the security of external borders.
  • Checks will be done by cross-checking the data with existing databases to see whether the person has a criminal record, has overstayed in the past, etc.
  • Travellers will have the confidence that they will be able to cross borders smoothly.
  • The ETIAS will be run by the ETIAS Central Unit under the management of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.


  • The ETIAS will apply to travel from third countries to Schengen Member States, including those that do not yet fully apply the Schengen acquis i.e. Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania.
  • Denmark to decide whether it will apply ETIAS.
  • Travellers to the UK and Ireland would not need an ETIAS, as both countries are outside the Schengen area. 
  • As EU Member States, nationals of the UK or Ireland will not be required to obtain an ETIAS for travel.
  • However, post-Brexit, UK travelers could be considered as third country nationals and be required to obtain an ETIAS for travel to the Schengen area.

Cost & validity:

  • The cost for travellers over the age of 18 is €5 and the authorisation is valid for multiple entries for 5 years or until the travel document expires (unless revoked). 
  • The fee is intended to cover the estimated €212 million cost of developing ETIAS and the annual operational cost of €85 million. The Commission wants ETIAS to be self-funding.


  • Information requirements include name, date and place of birth, travel document, nationality, residence, education and occupational details, whether applicant has been subject to diseases, existence of criminal offences, previous stays in a specific war or conflict zone, etc. The full list is included in Article 15 on page 43.
  • The application should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.
  • Applications may be submitted by a third person.
  • In the vast majority of cases, where the individual is not flagged on any database or watch list etc, automated approval will be given by email within minutes.

Carrier action:

  • The onus will be on carriers to verify if visa exempt third country nationals have a valid travel authorisation.
  • At the present time, there is no EU wide API system and therefore ETIAS will be a manual process.
  • The Commission has supposedly consulted with transport providers on this proposal but has given scant regard to the operational complexity of such a process when creating ETIAS.

Next Steps:

  • The proposal will now be sent to the European Parliament and Council for their scrutiny and adoption in 2017.
  • Technical development of the ETIAS will then be carried out
  • The Commission are hopeful that the ETIAS will be operational by 2020/2021.

The Commission has published the following supporting documents:

ABTA will engage with the UK Government on how the proposal interacts with the UK’s Brexit negotiations. We will also have meetings in Brussels, and will influence through ECTAA – our European association, to ensure the proposal is workable for the UK.