Changes to Europe's ETIAS Travel Authorisation for 2025

Image: Andrew Bain
Image: Andrew Bain

Changes are on the horizon for travellers planning a European getaway in 2025. The European Union (EU) is set to implement a new travel authorisation system, similar to the American ESTA, affecting visitors from non-EU countries. 

If you're from Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, or the UK, here's what you need to know before embarking on your European adventure

What you need to know about the new ETIAS Travel Authorisation

What is an ETIAS Travel Authorisation?

Proposed by the European Commission in November 2016, ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System. Its purpose is to establish a digital vetting system designed to identify security threats, irregular migration, and high epidemic risks presented by visa-exempt visitors travelling to the Schengen states.

What's changing?

From 2025, travellers from non-EU countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada and the UK, will be required to obtain a valid ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) to enter 30 countries within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. 

An ETIAS authorisation is valid for up to three years or until your passport expires, whichever occurs first. However, it's essential to be aware that this authorisation can be revoked at any time.

Unlike traditional visa applications, you won't need to visit an embassy or provide extensive biometric data. Instead, you can fill out an online form before your travel, pay a fee, and receive your travel authorisation.

It's important to note that ETIAS is not classified as a visa by the EU. An ETIAS is not required if you are only transiting.

When do these changes commence?

The exact launch date of this new travel authorisation scheme is still pending official confirmation, and we advise travellers to stay updated with the latest news. However, for UK residents, once it is live, applications can be submitted through the website or a dedicated app. 

Subsequently, more countries will be gradually incorporated into the system. The digital platform is anticipated to be fully operational by mid-2025.

How to apply for the ETIAS Travel Authorisation 

To obtain an ETIAS, head to the official EU website to learn more about the new ETIAS scheme and submit your application. Remember, early preparation is the key to a stress-free active holiday.

Viewing Tre Cime in The Dolomites Walking in the Dordogne |  <i>Nathalie Thomson</i> Walking towards Nocelle on the Amalfi coastline |  <i>John Millen</i>

Important considerations for long stays of over 90 days 

For travellers planning extended stays (for example when combining your walking or cycling holiday with a family visit in Europe) or from other nationalities not covered by the ETIAS, such as Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, and US passport holders, it's essential to reach out to the respective embassy. 

Stays exceeding 90 days within the Schengen Area require a long-stay visa from the country where you intend to spend most of your time. Keep in mind that these visas are typically granted for specific reasons (e.g. studying abroad).

Due to individual country visa requirements and each country having its own unique criteria, make sure you have the latest information from your respective embassies for comprehensive and accurate information and to ensure you have the necessary documents and permissions.

What countries are part of the Schengen Area?

The Schengen states, comprising 27 European countries, have an agreement allowing open borders between them. It allows for seamless travel without internal borders. To ensure a hassle-free experience, it's crucial to have your passport stamped upon arrival in the Schengen Area. 

These countries include Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Additionally, ETIAS applications will also be mandatory for visits to Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Romania.

The following European Union countries do not mandate ETIAS for entry: Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ireland, North Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Russia, San Marino, Serbia and Ukraine.

Looking to travel to Europe soon? Browse our wide range of affordable guided and self-guided holidays across the continent.


Page last updated 6 November 2023.

ETIAS Travel Authorisation, Etias, EU visa, Acitive Europe Holidays, Etias 2025

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