Come next year, British vacationers dreaming of European sunsets and Mediterranean gastronomy must take note of new travel protocols. Effective 2024, travel to 30 nations in Europe, Spain included, will necessitate a unique European Union travel permit.
This modification is a key component of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), a new system designed to enhance security and manage visitors from visa-exempt countries.
ETIAS is no mere rubber stamp; it is a dynamic system with a traveller’s passport at its heart. According to the European Union’s official portal, this permit will enjoy a lifespan of ‘up to three years or until the passport reaches its expiry date.’ That means travellers need no reapply for ETIAS authorisation each time they plan a European holiday within that period. That is provided you don’t renew their passport in the interim. A word of wisdom from the EU: secure your ETIAS accreditation before laying out plans for travel and lodging.
Time matters: ETIAS application timelines
Although the EU assures that ‘most applications are settled within mere minutes, don´t leave it to chance. The system warns that there might be exceptions, processing could stretch up to four days, or even further extend to 14 days should additional documentation be demanded. Worse, you could be summoned for an interview, taking the waiting period to an unnerving 30 days.
The 90-Day rule and Spain
Although Spain has expressed its intention to lobby the EU to abolish the 90-day rule that restricts British tourists’ visits, the new ETIAS system is not designed to replace or affect this rule. British tourists can still spend up to 90 days in Schengen countries, including Spain, within a 180-day period.
What this means for you
If you are a British traveller planning a trip to Spain or any other Schengen country, it is crucial to apply for your ETIAS permit well in advance. Failure to obtain this permit may result in denied entry. Although prices have not yet been confirmed, it’s anticipated that the ETIAS permit will cost around €7 for each application.
For those looking to understand more about how these changes affect British citizens living in Spain, GOV.UK offers comprehensive advice.
In summary, whether you’re a gastronome looking to explore Spain’s culinary delights or a sun-seeker aiming for the beaches of the Costa del Sol, be prepared: Travel to Europe in 2024 comes with new paperwork.