The European Union (EU) has officially unveiled a more specific, though not exact, timeline for the launch of its long-talked-about visa entry program, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
For those unaware, the ETIAS will require all non-Europeans, including those in the United Kingdom, U.S., and Canada, to apply for, and pay for, a visa before entering any of the EU’s member nations. The program has been in the works since 2016 and has been delayed several times since the initial announcement, going from November 2023 to 2024 and finally to sometime in 2025 last month.
Now, officials from the EU have said that travelers can expect the program to be in full operational in “mid-2025.”
“It is expected that the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will be operational from mid-2025,” the EU now says on the ETIAS website. That date could very well be pushed back again, but, as of October 2023, it is the most specific the EU has gotten in the run-up to the ETIAS launch.
Speaking earlier this year of the delays in launching the ETIAS, EU officials said that “unforeseen delays” had made its initial timelines “unattainable.”
When it is launched, the ETIAS will cost each applicant 7 euros (approximately $7.40 US or $9.55 CAD) for a permit that will be valid for three years. According to the ETIAS website, the application process should take no longer than 10 minutes, and 95% of applicants will be approved within minutes. Travelers will only need their passport, a credit card, or a debit card to pay for the permit, and no biometric data will be collected during the application process.
The ETIAS is one of many additional fees entering the world of travel post-COVID. Others include a recently announced boost to Amsterdam’s tourist tax, a boost to Iceland’s tourism tax, a new day-tripper tax for tourists entering Venice, and a slate of new cruise ship passenger taxes.
The U.S., for its part, has its version of the ETIAS, called Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA. The ESTA costs applicants $21 US. Canada also has a version, called eTA, which is required for a lot of foreign travelers outside of North America. Canada’s eTA is valid for up to 5 years and costs $7 CAD.
The U.K., which is no longer part of the EU, is now trialing a version of its own called the ETA system. The cost of the ETA has not yet been revealed.