Australians faced with new European entry requirements

There will soon be an extra step before you jet off for a European adventure.

There will soon be an extra step before you jet off for a European adventure. Photo: Getty

Australians are lucky enough not to need a visa for most of our European getaways, but soon we will need to apply for visa waivers.

Starting next year, about 1.4 billion people from more than 60 visa-exempt countries, including Australia, will be required to obtain a visa waiver through the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to enter most European countries.

France, Italy, Greece and Sweden are among the 30 European countries that will require visitors to go through the ETIAS.

Although the UK will not be taking part in the ETIAS, it will be introducing its similar Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) next year, which will likewise require travellers from countries that don’t need visas to apply for visa waivers.

Australia has not yet officially been added to the list of countries that will need to apply for the UK’s ETA – however, this will likely happen soon, as the official website says more nationalities will be added to the scheme.

Currently, only Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar and Jordan have been listed.

Changes to EU entry requirements

The ETIAS is not yet open for applications, but will likely open up before 2024, when the system is set to launch.

According to currently available information, the process should be quick and cheap.

Most applications will be processed within minutes, and the longest wait you’ll face should be four days – unless you are asked to provide more information or documentation, or invited for an interview, in which case the period could be extended up to 30 days.

The possibility of an extended processing time is why travellers are advised to apply for an ETIAS travel authorisation well in advance of planned trips.

An online payment of €7 (about $11) will be required for an application.

However, there is no fee for applicants aged under 18 or above 70, or who are family members of European Union (EU) citizens or of non-EU nationals who have the right to move freely throughout the EU.

The application process will require you to give out the following information:

  • Personal information, including your name, date and place of birth, nationality, home address, parents’ first names, and contact details
  • Travel document (passport) details
  • Details about your level of education and current occupation
  • Details about your intended travel and stay in any of the countries requiring ETIAS
  • Details about any criminal convictions, any past travels to war or conflict zones, and whether you have recently been deported from the territory of any country.

The good news is your ETIAS travel authorisation is valid for three years, or until your passport expires – whichever comes first.

You also have the right to appeal if your application is rejected.

Just as per the previous visa-free travel rules, an ETIAS travel authorisation entitles you to stay in the participating European countries for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.

You must be in possession of a valid ETIAS travel authorisation (which will be linked to your passport) during your entire stay, but you can travel to and from Europe at any time as long as you respect this time limit.

Changes to UK entry requirements

Australia has not yet been officially added to the list of countries whose departing travellers will need an ETA for entry, but it is likely on the cards some time in late 2023 or early 2024.

The only people who have been declared exempt are those with a British or Irish passport, those that have permission to live, work or study in the UK, or those that have a visa to enter the UK.

When unveiling the US-style digital visa-like system in 2021, then-UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said it would provide more control over who enters the country.

“We will have a far clearer picture of who is here, and whether they should be, and we will act if they are not,” she said in 2022.

Source: YouTube/@ukhomeoffice

According to the UK government website, travellers will need an ETA if they plan to:

  • Go to the UK for up to six months for tourism, visiting family and friends, business or study
  • Go to the UK for up to three months on the Creative Worker visa concession
  • Transit through the UK – even if you’re not going through UK border control.

Each ETA application will cost £10 (about $18), and a decision will usually be received within three working days, although the process may take longer if further checks are needed.

The ETA will be valid for two years, or until your passport expires – whichever comes first.

Like the ETIAS in participating European countries, you must be in possession of a valid ETA (which will be linked to your passport) during your entire UK stay, but you can travel to and from the country as long as you abide by your time limit.

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.