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From 2025, UK Citizens Will Need an ETIAS Visa to Enter the EU 

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Although it may not sound particularly European, the Schengen Area, named after the Luxembourg village where the agreement was signed, includes 23 of the 27 EU member states, creating a borderless travel zone of over 4 million sq. kilometers. 

The agreement gives EU citizens and anyone legally present in the EU the right to free movement within the area. 

After Brexit, citizens of the United Kingdom did not need a visa to travel to Europe. However, from 2025, that will change – they must have an ETIAS visa waiver to visit any of the Schengen countries. 

This article will explore what ETIAS means for UK travelers – what it is, how it works, its requirements, and fees.

Nomad Capitalist is a turnkey solution for offshore tax planning, dual citizenship, asset protection, and global diversification. You can find out more here

What is ETIAS?

What is ETIAS?
ETIAS travel authorization system is a completely online security check designed to optimize EU border security.

ETIAS stands for The European Travel Information and Authorisation System. It is a completely automated system designed to optimize EU border security.

Like ESTA, the U.S Electronic System for Travel Authorization, EITAS will keep track of all non-EU nationals who currently do not need a visa to enter the Schengen zone. 

Although the concept was introduced in 2016, it will be implemented in 2025, having been pushed back from planned launches in 2020, 2022, and 2023. 

ETIAS is not a visa but rather a visa waiver. An ETIAS travel authorization process is entirely online, far quicker, and easier to navigate than a standard visa application, which usually requires in-person meetings with the consulate officials.

The system will gather, record, and update all the information regarding individuals planning to travel to Europe.

Based on this information, the authorization system will subsequently allow or refuse entry to the Schengen area, eliminating the chance of a threat before it crosses the EU border.

Do UK Citizens Need a Visa for Europe?

UK citizens do not need a visa to enter Europe. However, as of November 2025, they will need an ETIAS visa waiver.

As third-country nationals, British passport holders can travel to and stay in the Schengen states visa-free for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. This is also known as the 90/180 rule.

While a standard visa is not required for 90-day trips, an ETIAS visa waiver is mandatory for all British nationals planning a European trip for business, tourism, or transit.

Traveling to the Schengen area for any other purpose, like work or study, will have different visa requirements specific to the destination country.

What was the need for ETIAS?

The primary need for a travel authorization system such as ETIAS is security.

“We need to know who is crossing our borders. This way, we will know who travels to Europe before they even get here.”

These were the words of the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, during his 2016 State of The Union Address.

The idea for ETIAS was first introduced in 2016 by the European Commission while discussing more robust and more intelligent information security systems for border security.

The ETIAS authorization serves the following purposes:

  •     Eradicate illegal and irregular migration.
  •     Regulate cross-border movement.
  •     Simplify the visa application process.
  •     Improve EU border management and internal security.

How Much Does an ETIAS Waiver Cost?

How Much Does an ETIAS Waiver Cost?
An ETIAS waiver will cost you €7 (roughly £6) per application.

An ETIAS visa waiver will cost you €7 (roughly £6) per application. The ETIAS fee is valid for individuals aged between 18 to 70 years old.

The cost is minimal in line with the non-complex, simple nature of the ETIAS system, and you’re free to pay for an ETIAS application through a debit or a credit card.

Which Countries Require ETIAS for Entry?

Which Countries Require ETIAS for Entry?

The ETIAS is valid for third-country nationals who can travel visa-free to the EU Schengen area. The countries that require an ETIAS for entry are listed below.

Schengen Member Countries

  •     Austria
  •     Belgium
  •     Luxembourg
  •     The Netherlands
  •     Germany
  •     France
  •     Spain
  •     Portugal
  •     Sweden
  •     Finland
  •     Denmark
  •     Lithuania
  •     Latvia
  •     Estonia
  •     Poland
  •     Slovakia
  •     Hungary
  •     Slovenia
  •     Italy
  •     Greece
  •     The Czech Republic
  •     Malta

European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Member Countries

  •     Iceland
  •     Liechtenstein
  •     Norway
  •     Switzerland

Non-Schengen EU Countries

  •     Bulgaria
  •     Croatia
  •     Cyprus
  •     Romania

De Facto Members (Micro States)

  •     Monaco
  •     San Marino
  •     The Vatican

How will the ETIAS System Work?

The following is the general guide to the ETIAS application process:

Application Form

The European travel information authorization system is designed to keep the ease of the user in mind. 

Tourists with upcoming European travel plans must fill out an online application form to start the process. Absolutely no paperwork is involved, and the entire form can be filled out digitally.

Applicants will need a valid passport to apply. The form will ask for information including but not limited to your name, work experience, the first European Union country you intend to visit, any criminal record, background, and eligibility questions. 

The form is straightforward and should take about 10 minutes to complete. After completing the form, you pay the ETIAS fee through a debit or credit card.

Wait for The System to Assess Your Application

After you apply, the system will assess your information. It will fact-check your credentials along with the information you gave. It will also check for any prior record with law enforcement authorities to assess whether you are a risk to the European countries.

If the information is correct, you are good to go – the system will give you the green light, and your ETIAS application will be approved.

95% of the applicants can expect approval within a few minutes. But what about the unfortunate minority?

What Happens If An Etias Application Is Rejected?

The ETIAS application process is a quick one. Within minutes, you will receive a message advising your status.

If the system flags your application, it will be manually processed. The manual processing can take anywhere between 96 hours to 2 weeks, maximum.

In the case of a rejection, the applicant will also be told the reason for their rejection, which they can appeal. They can also re-apply if they think the information they gave was incorrect.

It may not be a visa, but ETIAS is mandatory for British citizens to enter European countries. A person who does not have valid ETIAS authorization will not be granted entry to any EU country.

When does ETIAS start?

When does ETIAS start?

The ETIAS is all set to launch in 2025. After that, all the citizens from a visa-exempt third country will require ETIAS to enter European Union member states.

ETIAS for UK Citizens – FAQ

How long is an ETIAS valid for?

An ETIAS visa is valid for three years, starting from the time of approval. In case of the expiry of the associated passport, the ETIAS waiver also expires.

Can I make multiple trips to Europe on a single ETIAS authorization?

Yes, visa-exempt third-country nationals can make several trips to Europe on a single ETIAS waiver unless the trips are less than 90 days per 180-day period.

Do UK citizens need ETIAS to travel to Ireland?

No, UK citizens can travel to Ireland without a visa, an ETIAS, or any travel authorization as per the Common Travel Area arrangement between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

What are the reasons for the denial of an ETIAS application?

An ETIAS application may be denied due to, but not limited to, the following reasons:

    An invalid or stolen passport
    Wrong information
    Criminal record
    Past alerts in Schengen Information System – SIS II
    Risk of Illegal Immigration
    Risk of epidemic

Who needs an ETIAS?

Any citizen of a country that does not require a visa to enter the Schengen zone needs an ETIAS travel authorization starting in 2025. 

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