If you are wondering who needs an ETIAS visa waiver to holiday in Spain, well this article will tell you everything you need to know.

The good news is the ETIAS visa waiver programme will not come into force until possibly mid-2025, but find out more about the ETIAS visa and why it will make travel easier for many non-European passport holders in this article.

What’s more the media love covering this story publishing articles speculating about possible launch dates.

For accurate information, I would advise ignoring media speculation and referring back to the official European Union website which has yet to give a firm, fixed date for its launch.

What is the ETIAS visa waiver?

The ETIAS visa – or the European Travel Information Authorisation System – is not a visa.

ETIAS is a Visa Waiver, meaning passport holders from certain countries outside the European Union and European Economic Area can apply for a Visa Waiver which will entitle them to visa-free travel into European countries for a 90-day in a 180-day limit.

Who needs an ETIAS visa waiver to holiday in Spain?

You can see a complete list of countries here but it will apply to passport holders from the United Kingdom, the USA and Canada, Australia and New Zealand and many South American Countries.

You can also see on this page that other passport holders outside the European Union not listed will still have to apply for a tourist visa to visit Spain.

European passport holders will not require an ETIAS visa and can still travel around Europe freely with their European passports.

These lists will be updated as we go through 2024, but they will give you a good idea of who will need an ETIAS visa waiver to holiday in Spain.

To follow the official ETIAS visa waiver website, check here.

How much is an ETIAS visa waiver?

An ETIAS visa waiver will cost 7€ or around £6.75 which will cover you for visa-free travel for three years when travelling to European countries for less than 90 days in a 180-day limit.

Is the EES the same as the ETIAS visa waiver?

No, the EES or Entry-Exist System you will read mentioned in the same media articles surrounding the ETIAS visa waiver actually refers to the computer system handling arrivals and departures from countries outside of the European Union.

Essentially the EES is border control.

The aim is to irradicate physically stamping passports from outside of the European Union.

It is designed to collect biometric and travel information from holidaymakers aimed at enhancing security and streamlining the immigration processes by recording the movements of individuals in and out of a country.

There is speculation that the new EES (Entry-Exit System) will be installed in airports in the Autumn of 2024 (my prediction will be after the Summer season in Mallorca) meaning that you will just need to digitally and manually scan your biometric passport as you pass through border control.

To check out the latest updates around the EES, check out the official website link here.

However, the new EES could work in reverse and increase the time crossing the border and predictions are that it could cause travel chaos. Time will tell.

Is the ETIAS visa waiver a good thing and why?

The ETIAS visa waiver will keep a more efficient record of how many days non-European passport holders spend in Europe and is expected to launch after the EES (Entry-Exit System) is in place).

The ETIAS visa waiver will hopefully speed up the long queues currently experienced at Palma airport where non-EU citizens are experiencing long queues moving through passport control to get their passports physically stamped.

However, many years before the UK joined the EU, visas were once required to visit Europe, so this ETIAS visa waiver scheme is a great way to allow free(ish) travel for many countries without having to apply for individual visas for every trip.

The ETIAS visa waiver will speed up travel through airports
The ETIAS visa waiver will speed up travel through airports: Palma airport non-EU queue at border control, February 2023

Will homeowners in Mallorca require an ETIAS visa waiver?

At present, yes – passport holders requiring an ETIAS visa waiver who also are property owners in Mallorca will at the time of writing still require an ETIAS visa waiver when it launches.

However, it has been reported that the Spanish Government are keen to waive restrictions for homeowners from these countries to use their properties freely.

Has a decision yet been made about this? As of December 2023, no, but watch this space and I will keep you updated!

Avoid the ETIAS visa waiver scam

The ETIAS visa waiver programme will not come into force until 2024. Please avoid being scammed if you receive any unsolicited emails telling you to apply for an ETIAS visa before travelling.

It could be the case that these emails will be circulated nearer to the Summer holiday season.

If you want to keep up to date with when the ETIAS visa waiver system will be implemented, then make sure you subscribe to the Mallorca Under the Sun YouTube channel where I will post updates.

Where to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver

You will be able to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver through this link here on the official ETIAS visa waiver website.

For the time being it’s just asking if you would like to receive email updates about its official launch date.

To find out more about what other costs you will incur if you are booking a holiday to Mallorca, then check out this article here all about the Spanish Tourist Tax, or Eco tax.

Book Mallorca transfers
Buy Living in Mallorca Under the Sun book