The European Union has postponed the launch of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) to Spring 2025 and the reformed Entry/Exit System (EES) until autumn 2024, with possible further delays expected. This means that for now, the process of sending employees, and travel to the EU in general, will remain the same.
The ETIAS is expected to increase efficiency and automate the process of applying for travel authorization, which will save businesses time and resources and save the traveler time at border control. So what is ETIAS, what changes can we expect going forward, and what can businesses do to prepare ahead of 2025?
Let’s jump in.
What is ETIAS and who needs to apply?
In development since 2016, ETIAS is an electronic travel authorization system that will be required for travel to The EU by those who could previously enter the EU zone visa-free, for example, citizens of the United States, the UK, Canada, Australia, and many other countries. Those who were not eligible for visa-free travel will still be required to obtain a Schengen visa, which is manually entered into the passport rather than electronically.
This verification of visa-exempt non-EU citizens before travel is designed to make border checks easier and faster as well as identify potential security risks and immigration violations before travelers arrive in Europe. It coincides with the UK’s ETA entry permit for travelers to the UK and joins the American current ESTA system.
The ETIAS visa waiver is valid for three years and is multiple-entry, or until the individual’s passport expires, meaning travelers can return to Europe for several short stays without the need to reapply.
Applying for the ETIAS, and how it works
Applicants will be able to apply for an ETIAS via the official website or app for mobile device travel and will have to pay a fee of €7. When filling out the application, you will need to have your passport and a payment card ready. You will also be asked to provide your personal information. Your passport should not expire in less than three months and it should not be older than 10 years.
Once someone has submitted their online application, the system will check it against the EU border and security information systems so accuracy is key. In most cases, applicants receive their travel authorization within minutes. However, additional checks may be needed in some cases, which could take up to 30 days.
How can businesses prepare for ETIAS?
The postponement of ETIAS means that businesses will have more time to prepare for the new system. However, it is important to start planning now, as the system is expected to be implemented in 2025, and being organized will provide a smoother transition for your business and employees.
There are several things that businesses can do to prepare for ETIAS:
- Assess your company’s current travel policies and procedures to identify any areas that need to be updated to comply with ETIAS.
- Develop a system to track employee travel and to ensure that all employees have a valid ETIAS authorization before they travel.
- Provide training to your company’s travel staff on the ETIAS system, if required.
Companies and individuals can also work with a trusted partner to ensure ETIAS applications are carried out accurately and in a timely fashion. By outsourcing your employee’s ETIAS applications you can leave it to experts to manage, and should there be any issues,
It’s also important to note that the ETIAS is not a work visa, so there are limits to the activities that can be carried out while on an ETIAS. For example traveling to the EU for meetings, conferences, and other related events such as trade shows are permitted. It is possible to apply for a work permit from within the EU which must be done within three months of arrival.
LEX Documents can help you get ready for ETIAS
The postponement of ETIAS to 2025 is a welcome relief for businesses that need to send employees to the EU for conferences and travel. However, it is important to start planning for the new system now, as it is expected to be implemented in 2025.
Lex Documents can support travelers and agencies with immigration digital platforms like ETIAS as well as providing documentation, translation, and legalization support. We have branches across Europe and we are ready to assist. You can approach the new ETIAS, or other processes like the Schengen visa, or the UK’s ETA, with confidence and clarity
Don’t hesitate to contact our experts to avoid problems with your ETIAS application!