UPDATE: New EU travel requirements for all UK citizens from May 2023

Passport Control - Credit Policia Nacional

All travellers to the EU from the UK will require to make use of the ETIAS authorisation system, which comes into force in May 2023.

ETIAS is not a visa, but is rather more akin to the American system, but an electronic system that will allow Schengen member countries to better control movement in and out of the EU.

The system is being introduced primarily to allow the EU to better control its borders, but will also being about the consistent application of the rules:

  • Reduce procedures and application times
  • Improve the management of EU country borders
  • Assist in detecting and decreasing crime and terrorism
  • Impede irregular migration
  • Reinforce the visa liberalisation policy of the EU

Bust most of all the EU believes that the new system will make travelling to the EU less of a hassle and a much safer experience for everyone.

ETIAS Requirements for UK Citizens

Currently UK citizens do not require any prior approval or visa to visit the EU, however, ETIAS changes that with a quick application required prior to travel. The application will take only a few minutes to complete, will cost the equivalent of €7.00 and will be valid for three years.

The fee will only apply to those aged between 18 and 70.

To enable everyone to get to grips with the new system a 180-day grace period will be applied, which means it will be mandatory from November 2023. 

Duration of stay and moving around Europe

The ETIAS system does not change the current policy that restricts the visit of non-EU residents to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Once approval has been given you will be free to enter and move around Europe for business, tourism and medical reasons. It will also allow you to use Europe for transit whilst travelling.

Please note it does not give you the right to work, to live or to overstay the 90 days.

To calculate whether you are within the allowed number of days simply count backwards the last 180 days, and see if you have been in the Schengen Area for more than 90 days throughout that period.

If you do overstay you could be fined, deported or refused entry in the future even if you broke the law unintentionally.

Applying for an ETIAS?

You will need to visit the official website or make use of the mobile application once it becomes available. There you will you need to complete the application, which asks for basic information such as names, address and passport details.

The process, which should take less than 10 minutes to complete, should result in your receiving authority to enter the EU within a few minutes of submitting your application.

Please remember that your application could be denied if you have a criminal record, pose a danger to society, have provided fraudulent information or pose a threat.

Entering the EU

As before you will need to be able to show a valid passport on entry (issue for no more than 10 years and have three months remaining at the time of your intended departure) and your ETIAS authorisation.

You may also be asked why you are travelling to the EU and whether you have the financial means to support yourself. As border agents have the final say on whether you can be allowed to enter the EU, it is advisable to have this information to hand although they will not always ask to see it.

A final word

Although not a requirement it is recommended that travellers take out the necessary insurance and apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which is available free to UK residents.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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