British travelers will have to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver every 3 years to travel to EU countries post-Brexit. The European Commission has confirmed that UK travelers will need the travel authorization once it becomes available in 2021.
ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) has not been launched yet. It will be a requirement for many nationalities (not just the UK) who travel to any of the countries in the Schengen Area.
All EU citizens, which currently includes British people, can travel freely to anywhere within the EU without paying. However, the UK will no longer be in the EU after Brexit.
From 2021, UK travelers will need an ETIAS visa waiver to enter EU countries. The authorizations will be valid for 3-year periods and allow an unlimited amount of entries.
Why is ETIAS being Introduced?
ETIAS is being implemented because of concerns over immigration and terrorism. The new travel authorization will bring in more controls and improve the security of the region.
All applicants will be screened using security databases such as Interpol and Europol. This will allow the authorities to identify people who pose a potential risk and prevent them from entering Europe.
There will be 61 nationalities who need to apply for an ETIAS from 2021 before traveling to EU countries. This includes travelers from the US, Australia, and Japan, as well as British citizens.
At the moment, these 61 countries can travel to any country in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days without a visa. It is also possible to move between the countries in the zone without border checks.
What will UK Travelers Have to Do After Brexit?
After Brexit (the current deadline is 29/3/2019) there will be a transition period when UK travelers will continue to be able to move freely around the EU with just a passport.
When ETIAS is introduced and the transition period ends, UK travelers will need to complete the ETIAS online application form. The application form should not take longer than 10 minutes to complete.
Applicants will need to enter a range of information on the online form including their name, address, passport details and answer background questions regarding health and any past criminal convictions.
The vast majority of applications will be very quickly approved though some will be denied and others could take up to 4 weeks. The EU said over 95% of applications will be automatically approved.
Bilateral Agreement Could be Reached
The European Commission has offered free travel for UK travelers who go to EU countries for short stays, as long as the UK agrees to do the same for EU nationals. If the UK accepts this offer, it will still be necessary to complete the ETIAS application though there would not be a fee.
The European Commission has said the EU’s offer was “entirely conditional upon the UK also granting reciprocal and non-discriminatory visa-free travel for all EU member states.”
There are already 56 nationalities who can enter the UK visa-free. Some of them can stay in the country for up to 6 months but cannot work or study.
Whether a bilateral agreement is reached or not, the EU has said that applicants under 18 or over 70 will not have to pay for an ETIAS visa waiver.