New ETIAS visa rules for Europe will affect Australians in 2024
From 2024 Australian travellers wishing to enter the Schengen Area in Europe will need to apply for the new European Travel Authorisation and Information System (ETIAS) visa waiver.
Previously, Australians could travel to any of the 27 countries in Europe’s Schengen Area for up to 90 days without needing to obtain a visa.
While the new rules won’t necessarily require Australian travellers to apply for a visa, they will need to submit an online visa waiver application – the ETIAS visa waiver.
What is ETIAS?
The ETIAS visa waiver is a pre-travel authorisation that you’ll need to apply for in order to enter 30 countries in Europe, including those in the Schengen Area.
It’s similar to the United States’ Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) and serves as a way of beefing up security and keeping tabs on travellers entering the visa-free zone of Europe.
While the introduction of ETIAS for travellers entering the Schengen Area doesn’t signal the end of uncomplicated travel for Australians headed overseas, it does mean there’s an extra step to take before you embark on your journey.
ETIAS approval is linked to your passport and is valid for up to 3 years, according to the European Union (EU). So, if your passport expires within this time frame, then you’ll need to re-submit your ETIAS waiver application when you get a new passport.
The EU says that securing an ETIAS doesn’t guarantee entry into the Schengen Zone. You’ll still need to have a valid passport and meet the entry conditions of the country where you’re going.
Australian travellers can find comprehensive information on the entry requirements of each country through Smartraveller.
At this point in time, Australian travellers will not need to apply for an ETIAS, nor are advanced applications open for 2024.
Planning a European getaway? Consider adding a comprehensive travel insurance policy to your kit. Travel insurance can help take your mind off the ‘what ifs’ of travelling abroad and protect you if something goes wrong.
While travel insurance won’t save your bacon if you forget to apply for an ETIAS, the right policy can help you with lost luggage, medical emergencies, travel delays, and more.