From 2024, British travellers will need a visa waiver to enter most EU countries. Initially, the introduction of the European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme was supposed to happen in November 2023, but this has been postponed until 2024.
When it does launch, those with a British passport will need a visa waiver to visit any country in Europe’s Schengen Area. This acts similarly to America’s ESTA system and allows UK passport holders to travel in this area with an electronic authorisation, rather than a full visa.
What are the current rules for travelling to Europe?
Before Brexit, UK passport holders could stay as long as they liked in the EU as long as they abided by the country's rules. However, now, for trips to the Schengen area, British travellers can stay for a maximum of 90 days in any 180 days.
If you overstay this period of time, you can risk a fine, deportation and even a ban into the area for up to three years.
During this time, you can move in between any country in the area without the need for a visa. However, if you are planning to stay longer than 90 days, you need to check the entry requirements for the country you are visiting, which can be done via the government’s website.
For Eastern European country Azerbaijan, UK passport holders need an e-visa and are allowed to stay as a tourist for 30 days.
How to get an ETIAS
As the scheme is not launched yet, it is currently unavailable to buy. However, when it does launch it will be available online, as they are e-visas, and should cost around €7 (£6). To apply, UK passport holders will need to fill in an online application from the official website and upload a photo of their passport. The visa waiver should be granted within minutes, but if further checks are needed it could take up to 30 days.
After it has been issued, the authorisation is expected to be valid for three years, or until a passport expires. This will apply to all British travellers between the ages of 18 to 70.
It is important to note that the ETIAs are not officially a visa, but a method to track visa-exempt visitors from third countries - such as the UK. However, with the launch of the EU’s entry-exit system to be expected in late 2023, British passport holders will also be photographed and have their fingerprints taken when they enter and leave the area.
List of places that will need the EITAs authorisation
To travel to all Schengen Zone areas, plus non-Schengen microstates such as Andorra and Monaco, you will need an EITAs authorisation. These countries are:
- San Marino
- Czech Republic
- Vatican City