Travelling to Europe is about to get more complicated for Australians.
Starting in 2020, Australian passport holders will need to apply for a special visa and prove they are not a terrorist before they can visit Europe.
Unless travellers have this visa, which will likely only cost $10, they cannot board any flight, train, ferry or cruise ship to the continent.
In 2020 the EU plans to start a new entry system designed to reduce illegal immigration and tighten security on terrorism (Stock image)
Unless travellers have this visa, which will likely only cost $10, they cannot board any flight, train, ferry or cruise ship to the continent (Stock image)
The strict visa requirement is part of a new anti-terrorism measure which will see hopeful travellers grilled about their holiday plans.
It will be known as the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and it will come into effect for Australian tourists in less than two years.
Only adults will require the visa and under-18 passport holders can pass through freely without it.
The ETIAS form will have a number of security questions to determine if you are a terrorist or not.
The visa will last three years, or until your passport expires.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will affect the way Australians to and from, and around Europe (Stock image)
Hopeful travellers will be asked security questions and are required to provide details of your travel plans as part of the counter-terrorism move (Stock image)
WHAT DOES THE NEW VISA MEAN?
Australian travellers heading to the EU for business or leisure reasons will be obligated to apply for an European Travel Information and Authorisation System once the program is fully implemented in 2020.
The new security system is being implemented to reduce illegal immigration and to better protect against terrorist threats.
To apply for an ETIAS visa, Australians need to fill out the online application.
Applicants will answer basic security questions and give details about their travel plans, in a registration process similar to the ESTA program in the United States.
Most passengers should receive their approved ETIAS visa via email within 24 hours after filling out their application and paying the ETIAS visa fee.
With the visa Australians can travel freely within the Schengen Area, which covers most of Europe, excluding Britai, Bulgaria, Ireland, Romania and the countries that once made up Yugoslavia.
Travellers will be able to stay in the zone and travel freely for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Previously, travellers intending to spend 90 days within a 180 day period in the ‘Schengen area’ for business or tourism purposes did not need a visa.
However a visa waiver agreement has existed since the 1950s between Australians and some European countries.
For example, there is a visa waiver agreement between Germany and Australia which allows Australians to spend up to three months in Germany without a visa.
As many Australian residents also hold British nationality, once Britain leaves the EU Brits will be regarded as ‘third country nationals’, and will also be required to apply for ETIAS clearance.
After filling out the online ETIAS application and paying the $10 fee, travellers should expect their approved visa within 24 hours.
Then Australians are free to board their flights to enjoy a Parisian holiday or jaunt in Barcelona – but not for longer than 90 days.