Electronic travel authorization for non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to enter the EU

The House of Commons Library has put out a helpful note about the upcoming implementation of two schemes:

  • EU Entry/Exit System (EES) which is an automated system for registering travellers from non-EU countries, including the UK, each time they cross an external EU border
  • European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) which is travel authorisation to enter the EU, including the UK, for citizens of non-EU countries who do not require a visa to enter the EU

EU Entry/Exit System (EES)

Due to be introduced by the end of 2023, this will be an automated system for registering travellers each time they enter and exit the EU. Travellers will scan their passports at an automated kiosk prior to crossing the border.

It will apply when entering all EU states (except Ireland and Cyprus) and four EEA states. Ireland will not operate the EES system because of the Common Travel Area. Non-EU nationals who are legally resident or have long-term visas will be exempt from EES.

European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS)

Currently scheduled to open in November 2023 (though further delays are possible), this will similarly apply to non-EU citizens, including UK citizens, travelling to all member states except Ireland. It will also apply to the four EEA countries.

When non-EU citizens who do not require a visa travel to these countries, they will have to first apply for pre-travel authorisation via ETIAS.

Applications for an ETIAS authorisation will be made online or via a mobile app. Applicants will be checked against EU information systems for borders and security. According to the European Commission, a travel authorisation will be issued within minutes in most cases. However, some applicants may require further checks, which could delay authorisation for up to 30 days.

The ETIAS authorisation will last for three years (after which it will need to be renewed for future visits), or until the holder’s passport expires (whichever is sooner). It will cost €7 for people aged 18 to 70. However, it will be free for under-18s and over-70s.

UK nationals and their family members who have the right to reside in the EU under the Withdrawal Agreement and have documents evidencing this are exempt from ETIAS, as is anyone who holds a residence permit for any of the ETIAS countries.

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