ETIAS: The ESTA Equivalent For Schengen Visas

18 Feb 2020, 14 mins ago

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (“ETIAS”) is an electronic system that will require citizens of countries who can already enter the EU zone visa-free, to register.  The system, due to launch by 2021, is essentially the Schengen zone’s version of the US ESTA system.


What is the Purpose of the ETIAS Scheme?

The purpose of the ETIAS system is to allow the Schengen Zone to track who is visiting and improve security in the region. The ETIAS will carry out a security check of each applicant before they are able to enter any Schengen Zone country. The scheme’s objective is to allow Schengen countries to identify potential criminals and terrorists in order to stop them from entering the zone.


Will I Require an ETIAS?

Citizens of countries that require a Schengen visa to visit the EU will not be required to register for ETIAS. This scheme only applies to nationals of countries that do not currently require any type of visa to visit the region.

A comprehensive list of the nationalities that will be required to apply for an ETIAS before traveling to the Schengen zone can be found here.


What does the application process involve?

The application is online and current guidance states that it should not take more than 10 minutes to complete the online application form. All applicants aged between 18 and 70 will be required to pay a fee of €7.

Once the requisite fees have been paid checks will be carried out on each applicant. If the applicant is low risk, the process should be completed within a few minutes and the applicant should receive a decision there and then. If the check returns any specific information, the application will be processed manually and a decision should be received in about 4 days (processing time should be a maximum of 2 weeks).

If the individual receives a positive decision, they will be free to travel to the Schengen zone as a visitor.

The ETIAS will be valid for three years and allows an unlimited amount of entries during this time.



The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2020


Aurora Gherson 

  Aurora Gherson

  Trainee solicitor in our Corporate Team