You Need a Visa Waiver if You’re Travelling to These European Countries Next Year

You Need a Visa Waiver if You’re Travelling to These European Countries Next Year

If you’re planning on going on a Europe holiday next year in the Schengen Area, you might need to apply for a visa waiver program after new entry requirements have been announced called ETIAS.

The new rules particularly affect the participating countries in the Schengen Area and Australia just happens to be one of the over 60 non-European Union nations that have to apply online for the visa waiver.

Here’s what you need to know about the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).

European visas

Basically, as it currently stands, Australians do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Area if they are staying for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Your reason for travel, however, must be one or more of the reasons below:

  • Business purposes
  • Tourism and holidays
  • Visiting friends and family
  • Cultural and sporting events
  • Official visit
  • Medical reasons
  • Airport transit
  • Short-term study and research purposes

However, this new ETIAS entry requirement for the Schengen Area means that Australians have to apply to waive their need for a visa before they enter any of the participating nations.

Obviously, if you’re planning on staying for more than 90 days in any of the regions in the Schengen Area, you’ll need to apply for a national visa for that country while you’re still in Australia.

schengen area european visa
Image: iStock

What is ETIAS and what countries require it?

According to SmartTraveller, ETIAS is an electronic system that will complete a security check of visitors to any Schengen Area country before they can enter. It’s also going to be used by some European Union (EU) countries that aren’t within the Schengen Area.

These are the 30 European countries that will require visa-exempt travellers to have an ETIAS authorisation:

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

You don’t need to apply for this European Visa waiver if you’re travelling to an EU country that’s not part of the program.

The new Europe visa waiver requirements come into effect in 2024 so it’s best to get on top of it now so that you don’t find yourself unable to enter one of the 30 countries that apply.

It’s important to note that ETIAS is not a European Visa but rather a pre-screening to waive the need for a visa for those travelling for business or leisure for up to 90 days to the Schengen Area.

As mentioned before, if you are staying in the area for more than 90 days within a six-month period, you’ll need to apply for a Schengen Visa.

How to apply for a European visa waiver

If you are travelling to one of the European countries next year, you’ll be able to access the ETIAS application online, the link being available starting next year when the requirements go into effect.

It will be a basic form asking for standard contact details, current residence, passports, work experience, criminal history, previous trips to Europe and the like.

Once approved, your ETIAS will be valid for up to three years, or until the travel document you used in your application expires, whichever comes first.

To find out more about the ETIAS visa waiver, head over to the EU official website.

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