New travel requirement for Singaporeans travelling to Europe from 2024
Singaporeans heading to popular European countries such as France, Italy and Spain will be required to apply for an additional travel document from next year onwards.
Named the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, or Etias, it is an electronic visa waiver for citizens of select visa-exempt countries that is similar to its American counterpart, the Esta.
The Etias “conducts background checks on applicants to identify potential security risks entering Europe’s external borders”, according to its website.
Countries that will require the Etias are primarily continental European countries that share a border and are co-signers of the Schengen Agreement, which established a freedom of movement zone between the participating nations by removing travel restrictions.
There are currently 27 countries in the Schengen Area, including Belgium, Iceland and the Netherlands; the United Kingdom is not included. Three other non-Schengen countries – Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania – will also implement the Etias.
Other than Singapore, citizens of 58 other countries and territories – including Malaysia, Australia, Japan, South Korea, US and Canada – will also have to apply for the online document, which is valid for three years.
Applicants will be notified on whether their Etias application has been approved, refused or if it requires manual processing within 96 hours of their submission.
An applicant who has his Etias application rejected will receive an explanation, and it will include information on the particular EU member state that made the decision. The applicant will also be given a chance to appeal.
Travellers aged 18 to 70 would need to pay €7 (S$10) for the document, which is otherwise free for others outside this age range.
According to Etias’ website, the document was introduced by the European Commission in November 2016 and legislated in September 2018 with the intention of improving the security of EU member states by capturing data on travellers who currently visit the region visa-free.
The website states: “The objective is to identify individuals who pose security threats before they are able to travel to the Schengen area... The screening would pertain to terrorism or migration related risks.”
For more information, the public can visit https://etias.com/what-is-etias.