If your Instagram feed is anything like ours, it seems like everyone is on holiday right now and at least half of them are eating their way around France, Italy or Spain. If that’s given you ideas for 2023, you’ll need to get your head around a new visa waiver called a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias).

From November 2023, travellers from non-EU countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK will need a valid Etias to enter 30 countries in the Schengen Area (a group of European countries which abolished border controls at their mutual borders), including France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Countries in the process of joining the Schengen Area, such as Croatia and Cyprus, will also require a valid Etias.

The Etias visa waiver will be mandatory for travellers from more than 50 non-EU countries if they’re planning to visit Europe for less than 90 days – including in transit. Anyone from a non-EU country planning to work, study or live in Europe for more than 90 days will need to apply for a visa.

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Thankfully, it all sounds pretty straightforward. You’ll be able to apply for an Etias online – similar to the US’s Esta process – and it’ll take 10 minutes to complete the form. According to the authorities, 95 per cent of applications will be approved within minutes but could take up to a month to be processed. Unsuccessful applicants will get an opportunity to appeal the decision.

The Etias costs about $11. It will be valid for three years for stays of up to 90 consecutive days within any 180-day period.

The European Union created the visa waiver in order to strengthen its borders, allowing travellers from non-EU countries to continue travelling visa-free for up to three months.

To apply, you’ll need a valid passport, an email address and a debit or credit card to pay the fee.


This article was updated on August 8. It originally stated the Etias was required from May 2023. This has since changed to November 2023.