EU Postpones Implementation of ETIAS

The EU has postponed until the end of 2022 the travel registration requirement for nationals of countries who are permitted to travel to Schengen countries without a visa.

A spokesperson for the European Commission (EU) has stated registration under the new European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) has been postponed until the end of 2022, instead of sometime in 2021.

By the beginning of 2023, U.S. and other travelers to Europe who do not need a visa to visit countries in the Schengen zone will be required to first get approval under the system. The exact dates of when ETIAS will be operational and the registration requirement in place are fluid. Citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa to enter a Schengen country will continue to need to do so and will not be required to register under ETIAS.

According to the EU Fact Sheet on Security Union: A European Travel Information and Authorisation System – Questions and Answers (July 5, 2018), The application process is expected to take about 10 minutes and will require applicants to provide their personal background information, a credit card to pay the €7 fee, and an email address to receive a response. If there are no issues with the application or background of the applicant, the system is expected to be able to provide approval within a matter of minutes.

Once approved, the registration is valid for five years. As is currently the policy, travelers will be permitted to spend 90 days in a 180-day period within the Schengen zone. A traveler may enter and leave the zone an unlimited number of times within that period. For periods longer than 180 days, travelers will need to obtain a Schengen visa. There will be an appeal process for those travelers whose applications are denied. ETIAS will be an online platform. It is still under development and is anticipated to go active in 2020.

There are 60 countries as well as the United States whose citizens do not need a visa to enter countries in the Schengen zone, and who will be required to receive approval under ETIAS. The countries are listed below. There are 102 countries whose citizens require a visa for entry into countries in the zone.

Countries of Citizens Who Need to Register under ETIAS

Source: Regulation (EU) 2018/1806 (November 14, 2018)

Albania Andorra Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina Australia Bahamas
Barbados Bosnia and Herzegovina Brazil
Brunei Canada Chile
Colombia Costa Rica Darussalam
Dominica El Salvador Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Georgia Grenada Guatemala
Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Israel
Japan Kiribati Malaysia
Marshall Islands Mauritius Mexico
Micronesia Moldova Monaco
Montenegro New Zealand Nicaragua
Palau Panama Paraguay
Peru Samoa San Marino
Serbia Seychelles Singapore
Solomon Islands South Korea St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia St. Vincent and the Grenadines Timor-Leste
Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tuvalu
Ukraine United Arab Emirates United States of America
Uruguay Vanuatu Venezuela

The 26 countries that currently comprise the Schengen zone are listed below. In addition, ETIAS will be required for those countries that are in the process of joining the Schengen zone but don’t yet fully meet the standards. Those countries are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. The United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland notably are not part of the Schengen zone.

Countries of the Schengen Zone

Austria Belgium Czech Republic
Denmark Estonia Finland
France Germany Greece
Hungary Iceland Italy
Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania
Luxembourg Malta Netherlands
Norway Poland Portugal
Slovakia Slovenia Spain
Sweden Switzerland  

In November 2016, the European Commission proposed the establishment of ETIAS as an additional security measure to address a gap in information about travelers to Europe. In response to criticism of ETIAS being a visa requirement, European officials rebut that the program is a screening system similar to ESTA used by the U.S. and eTA by Canada. Registering under the system will be mandatory for individuals traveling to Europe without a visa.

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How This Impacts Mobility

The establishment of ETIAS will have a direct, but likely minimal impact on workforce mobility. For most business travelers, the registration process will be a formality. ETIAS does not change the need for transferees to obtain a work visa, and they should not need to register under ETIAS, as it applies only to individuals waived from needing a visa. However, the consequences for business travelers who fail to register will be significant, as they will be prevented from boarding transportation to a country within the Schengen zone or will be turned back at the point of entry.