Non-EU tourists heading to Prague face additional paperwork and fee next year

Tourists from more than 60 countries including the US and UK will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver prior to entering the EU by the end of 2022.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 28.12.2021 11:51 (updated on 28.12.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

An EU-wide program designed to strengthen security for those who travel to Europe without a visa is expected to take effect at some point in 2022. The result will be some additional paperwork and a €7 (about 175 crowns) fee for tourists from more than 60 countries including the United States and United Kingdom.

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) was initially supposed to launch in 2021, but was pushed back last year. According to the European Commission, it is now "expected to be operational by the end of 2022," but an exact date for its rollout has not been set.

The new program is similar to the ESTA visa waiver system in the United States. It allows border security to assess possible threats or risks associated with visitors who do not need a visa to enter a country before they arrive.

The ETIAS system will cover Europe's Schengen Zone area, which consists of most countries within the European Union as well as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.

Countries that will require ETIAS approval before entry once the system launches include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

San Marino, Vatican City and Monaco, will also require ETIAS approval.

Tourists who do not need a visa to enter the European Union, including those from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and dozens of other countries, will instead need to fill out an additional form before entering the EU, and pay an associated fee.

Citizens and residents of the EU, including those with short-term visas for work or study, will not need to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver.

While the ETIAS application system has not yet been launched, those planning trips to Europe in 2022 are advised to watch out for updates before their journey. Updates on the application system will be launched on the website of the European Commission, and will also be made available through a mobile app.

According to the European Commission, most travelers should receive ETIAS approval within minutes of submitting their application. In cases where additional checks are required, however, ETIAS approval could take up to 30 days.

Airline staff are also expected to check for ETIAS approval for travelers who require it prior to boarding.

Additional information about the ETIAS system from the European Commission can be found in this extensive FAQ from 2020.

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