EU logo, yellow stars on blue background

I met with the representatives of the EU’s forthcoming travel authorisation schemes at a travel blogging conference earlier this year; they are keen to spread the word and ensure that travellers are don’t get caught unawares.

There are two rules that will be coming into force over the next 6-8 months so if you’re travelling to Portugal or any European country from October 2024 onwards, please read this.

Entry/Exit System (EES)

Although the specific date has not yet been set, an automated system for recording non-EU nationals coming into and going out of any EU country is expected to come into force in October 2024.

You don’t need to do anything in advance for this but be aware that it requires the collection of biometric data, i.e. fingerprints and facial scans, and personal data. If you refuse, you won’t be able to enter the country.

The purpose is to avoid people overstaying their visas or visa-free entitlement as well as preventing unauthorised access to the EU.

According to the official website, where you’ll get much more information, “The main advantage of the EES is saving time. The EES replaces passport stamping and automates border control procedures, making travelling to European countries using the EES more efficient for the traveller.”

Let’s hope this is true! It does mean that anyone who treasures their passport stamps will be disappointed once the EES comes into force.

ETIAS

From April 2025, there will be a new entry requirement introduced by the EU called an ETIAS travel authorisation. It’s not active yet but if you’re planning a trip from spring 2025 onwards (exact date TBC), you’ll need to know this.

If you come from a visa-free country or territory (such as United Kingdom, United States of America, Australia or Canada) and plan to enter Portugal (and 30 other European countries), then you’ll need this ETIAS pre-authorisation.

Brits with a valid residency permit under the Withdrawal Agreement don’t need an ETIAS.

Click here for a list of countries that need an ETIAS.

Without this authorisation you will NOT be allowed into the country, so get it before you travel.

Don’t worry, the application process is intended to be straightforward and cheap (just €7).

What will this ETIAS mean for me?

You can enter any of the associated European countries as often as you want for short-term stays – normally for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

ETIAS is linked to your passport and is valid for up to 3 years or until your passport expires. If you get a new passport, then you’ll need to get a new ETIAS travel authorisation.

When you arrive at border control your documents will be checked as usual and you’ll be allowed to enter if you meet the requirements.

How do I get an ETIAS travel authorisation?

The process will be simple and online. However, applications are not yet being accepted (as at July 2024).

This aim of this article is intended to help with your travel planning so you know what you’ll have to do before your trip once it comes into force.

First of all, it’s very important to only apply through the OFFICIAL ETIAS WEBSITE. Already there are dozens of websites claiming to be the official sites. These may take your personal data and bank details plus charge you more for the service.

What documents do I need?

Man holding US Passport and suitcase
US Passport
  • A travel document (i.e. a passport) to which a visa may be affixed. Your travel document should not by expiring expire in less than three months and it should not be older than 10 years. There are some travel documents that are NOT acceptable – see here for details.

What information do I need to give?

  • Personal information including your name(s), surname, date and place of birth, nationality, home address, parents’ first names, email address and phone number;
  • Travel document details;
  • Details about your level of education and current occupation;
  • Details about your intended travel and stay in any of the countries requiring ETIAS;
  • Details about any criminal convictions, any past travels to war or conflict zones, and whether you have recently been subject of a decision requiring you to leave the territory of any country.

If someone is submitting the application on your behalf, they too will have to give their details.

For minors, applications need to be submitted by a parent or guardian.

What will an ETIAS cost?

Just €7 and you’ll need a payment card.

Under 18s and over 70s are exempt from payment.

How long does it take?

Most applications are processed within minutes.

It may take longer if you are asked to provide extra documentation. This is why you should apply for an ETIAS travel authorisation well in advance of your planned journey.

You should then receive an email informing you of the outcome, then check your details again to make sure they’re accurate. If there are any numbers that don’t match you won’t be allowed into the country.

If your ETIAS is refused you do have a right to appeal.

Remember, only use the Official ETIAS Website.

Over to you. Please share your thoughts in a comment.