Reader question: I am British and live in France. In future will I need Etias approval to return to France after a trip to the UK?
No, Etias, set to come into force by the start of 2023, does not concern non-EU citizens who live in the EU and hold residency permits and/or who benefit from rights under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement deal, a European Commission press officer said.
She added: “Etias is for people who are non-EU citizens, who do not have the right to free movement, but who do not need a short-stay visa to come to the EU.”
This means that you will not need to apply as a French resident leaving and returning to the Schengen area; in this case you should just take your residency card with you as proof you are a resident of France.
Similarly Etias will not be concerned for internal trips within the Schengen area, either for EU residents or for visitors.
Etias will not be a document, but will be prior-authorisation, applied for online, to come into the Schengen area for a visit. It will not apply to those of nationalities which require a full visa to visit France.
It will cost €7 and once obtained, the approval will last three years.
At the Schengen border, for example on coming to France from the UK, border guards will electronically read a person’s travel document data, thereby triggering a query to different databases, including a query to the Etias service.
If there is a valid travel authorisation, the traveller will be authorised to enter the Schengen area if prior approval had been gained.
Etias is not directly related to Brexit other than it applies to the UK due to it leaving the EU - it will apply to other countries as well and was under discussion before the 2016 EU referendum.
Is is comparable to the requirements for EU citizens, and others not requiring full visas, to visit the USA.