In the coming months, US travelers visiting the United Kingdom or the Schengen region of Europe will be required to go online before traveling and pay a small fee to get permission to enter these areas. This post will talk about these programs.
What are these programs? For the UK, it is the Electronic Travel Authorisation program (ETA). In Europe, it is the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).
These systems are intended to block threats from entering these regions and get better data on who is entering a region. All of them require travelers to enter passport information and other personal information. When these systems are implemented, travelers must enter their information at least 72 hours before their first trip to these areas. In most cases, permission to enter will be immediate. Also, in all cases, failure to complete this authorization to enter the region can result in being denied entry and possibly a fine.
Before you start wondering why Americans need to start filling this out, you should be aware that both systems are based on the American Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The ESTA is an online registration that the United States requires all foreign nationals to complete before they enter the United States.
In addition, we will review the Verifly program.
The UK's ETA
According to the United Kingdom ETA Website, the UK intends to fully digitalize entry by 2025. When this happens, you will need to scan the passport you used to apply for the ETA.
The ETA is not a replacement for a visa. However, in cases where a visa is required, such as stays longer than 90 days or for work permits, the visa will still need to be obtained before travel.
To complete the authorization request, you will need the following:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Travel details
- A valid passport
- Email address
- A debit or credit card
The ETA is expected to cost roughly 35 GBP and will be good for two years. The implementation of the ETA is expected to start before mid-2023, but Americans will not be required to complete it until later in 2023.
The EU's ETIAS
The European Travel Information and Authorization System is also not yet fully implemented, but is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. According to the ETIAS website, the system “
Utilizing criminal records and security databases from European criminal justice institutions Europol and Interpol, the ETIAS creates a security network that keeps European citizens and visitors safe.”
Like the ETA, the ETIAS waiver will not be required if the traveler is required to get a visa to enter the region.
The information requirements for the ETIAS are almost identical to the information required for an ETA. The cost of the ETIAS is expected to be 7 Euro, and it will be valid for three years.
What is Verifly?
According to one webpage, Verifly is “a free app that can help simplify the international travel experience. VeriFLY works with select airlines to help verify travel credentials (like coronavirus test results and passenger locator forms) for select destinations to make the check-in experience more seamless.”
Verifly is not mandatory and is used only by a few airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines, Iberian, and Aer Lingus. You can use the app to upload the following information:
- Passenger details
- Departure and destination airports
- Passport information
- Companion information (if traveling with others)
- Photos of you and any travel companions (taken directly through the app with your device’s camera)
- Negative COVID-19 test result
- Proof of vaccination
- Travel authorization (if required), such as the U.K. passenger locator form
Should you use it? My first reaction is, “it wouldn’t hurt.” If nothing else, it should give you a place to organize your documents. The one piece of advice I have about this app is not to rely on it solely for your required documents. Always have the originals or at least a paper copy with you as a backup.
In the near term, I will be watching for these programs and will alert everyone when they go into effect.