Australians will need online 'visa waiver' to travel to Europe in 2022

Europe's new electronic visa waiver program takes effect next year.

By Chris C., January 19 2021
Australians will need online 'visa waiver' to travel to Europe in 2022

Most Australians looking to head to Europe in 2022 and beyond will need to apply to travel under the 'visa waiver' program, as European nations tighten their border checks on foreign visitors.

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System or ETIAS platform will work along the same lines as the United States’ ESTA.

Costing €7 (A$11), the ETIAS will be applied for and issued online, be valid for three years, and cover an unlimited number of business and leisure visits.

Obtaining approval to travel via the ETIAS system will be mandatory for all visa-free travellers, including those from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, and all other visa-waiver countries.

Visits to Europe under the visa waiver scheme will continue to be capped at 90 days in any rolling 180-day period: anything longer requires a full visa.

(Travellers holding a formal Schengen visa won't require the ETIAS visa waiver, nor will European passport holders.)

The ETIAS will apply to all countries within Europe's 'Schengen Area'. This includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

However, the ETIAS won't be needed for travel to other nations that are part of the European Union but that don't participate in the Schengen Area, such as Ireland; or the UK, which is of course no longer a member of the European Union.

Read more: Your guide to Europe's new ETIAS visa-waiver system

Chris C.

A former contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 18

Dear Mr Chamberlin,

Thanks for the article!

You mention "Travellers holding a formal Schengen visa won't require the ETIAS visa waiver, nor will European passport holders." - Any word on Australian citizens who are European permanent residents (yet not a European visa or passport holder)? I assume this wouldn't apply, but as there are many expats in the same situation, would be really helpful to know ))

Many thanks for all your continued work! Much appreciated!

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2561

Hi Maestro, this article contains a link to an ETIAS guide also published this week, which has more information about the scheme. For questions not covered by the guide, you'll find links to a broader FAQ and also to the ETIAS legislation in full, located at the bottom of that guide.

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 18

Thank you so much. I didn't find the information needed in the guide or the FAQ. However for those in the same situation as me, after consulting the full legislation (thanks for the link!), Art.2.2(d) reads "This Regulation does not apply to holders of residence permits".

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 533

This plan is hardly surprising since an increasing number of previously visa-free countries (mainly in the western world, but also Sri Lanka) have introduced pre-authorizations to travel even before Covid-19.

Australia was probably the first country to do so years ago now, when the only foreigners who could travel to Australia in true visa-free fashion without making pre-arrangements via a travel authority such as an ETA were New Zealanders.

In more recent years, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and as mentioned, Sri Lanka, have caught on. A small number of exemptions remain - for the USA, Canadians are exempt and vice versa for Canada. Australians are exempt from applying for an electronic travel authority for New Zealand.

After Covid, it probably won't be long before other previously visa-free countries will catch on - such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and others.

@Maestro, I am almost certain that this pre-authorization will apply ONLY to holidaymakers and short-term business travelers who are not required to apply for a business visa for the purpose of their travel who previously entered the EU/Schengen zone visa-free.

Obviously EU/Schengen member states won't need one, but UK citizens might.

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 18

Dear TheFreqFlyer,

Thanks for your insight. All confirmed now, I won't be needing it (see my reply above).

29 Jan 2015

Total posts 41

Am I right in thinking this is all about money?  Led by the USA, it seems a lot of previous freedom of movement around the world has been lost in recent years even for tourists.

05 Dec 2017

Total posts 12

Yes this is all about raising money. Expect it to spread and for existing fees to keep growing globally. A remarkable decline in freedom of movement and adds even more pressure in the event you need to undertake urgent travel

The NZ example demonstrates how insidious and ill thought out these taxes are. There It's in addition to all the taxes charged to cover customs and immigration expenses within the ticket price. Ostensibly charged to cover the cost of NZ's tourism infrastructure (national parks etc) it also captures transit passengers who don't go anywhere near that infrastructure, restricting airline's abilitiy to use the country as a transfer point and subsidise other fares. Amongst other illogical outcomes.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 533

That's true Gobbley and now Thailand plans to introduce a 300 Baht entry fee, collected from foreigners only (same as New Zealand does) although it's not clear if expats will be subjected to it too. The plan, if approved, would go into effect almost as soon as the current pandemic rules end and are replaced with the normal travel rules that will apply post-Covid.

Although I don't think it will have a big impact, it's not a good sign to be proposing such a rule during such trying times and is certainly not a good way of welcoming back tourists. I understand they had been proposing this law pre-Covid, but in my opinion it should be indefinitely postponed.

Of course, this all being said, I would rather pay a small entry fee than deal with all the other hoops, like quarantines, testing, possible vaccines etc. It remains to be seen how travel will look like come late 2021 and 2022.

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