The ETIAS system should be operational in Europe from 2025. If you’ve never heard of it, or if you’re still not sure what it’s all about, you’ve come to the right place. Today, our experts in travel-related administrative formalities bring you the latest news on the implementation of ETIAS, affecting not European citizens but foreigners who previously enjoyed visa-free travel to Schengen countries.

ETIAS very close to ESTA

There’s no doubt that the U.S. VWP visa waiver program inspired the European ETIAS project. Aimed at reinforcing homeland security while offering simplified access to its territory for nationals of the countries concerned, the American system includes the issue of an ESTA authorization. This electronic authorization is simpler and less costly to obtain than a U.S. visa.

Member countries of the Visa Waiver Program travel easily to the USA with an ESTA. Around 60 countries will join the ETIAS program by 2025. Until now, these countries did not require a Schengen visa. Once ETIAS is in force, their citizens will have to complete the new online procedure: an ETIAS form. Like the ESTA, it is intended for tourists, business travelers and transit passengers entering the Schengen area for short-term stays. Once in your pocket, the ETIAS is valid for 3 years, unlike the ESTA, which is valid for 2 years.

Please note: the European Union should not be confused with the Schengen area. The latter includes most, but not all, EU members; moreover, 4 European countries are part of Schengen but not of the Union (Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein). In addition, some have joined the euro zone, while others still operate with their own currency.

Here are some examples of countries whose nationals will need to order an ETIAS:


In order to collect as much information as possible from travelers in the above-mentioned countries, the European authorities will be setting up a computerized questionnaire. All visa-exempt visitors will be asked to provide a range of personal information, as for ESTA applications (date and place of birth, e-mail address, name, postal address…), including details of their health and criminal record. Depending on the assessed risks to national and European security, ETIAS will be granted or refused. The reply will be sent electronically to the applicant’s e-mail inbox, with further information in the event of refusal. The latter can also be the result of an input error. In this type of situation, the individual can try his or her luck again at a later date.

Without ETIAS Europe or a visa, you can’t visit Schengen territory! A valid passport is also essential.

All this is taking place against a tense backdrop of numerous terrorist attacks on the European continent: Belgium, France, Germany… These events and the global climate have led to a hardening of European policy.