Consider yourself blessed. The Malaysian passport is pretty damn powerful and entitles us access to many countries without any restrictions, hassle-free.

While countries in the European Union (all EU states except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and The United Kingdom) were once freely accessible to us visa-free for a limited period of time – 90 days to be exact – there will be a new immigration process implemented from the year 2020.

Called the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), it will be mandatory for all citizens from visa-free countries, including Malaysians, to apply before they can cross the borders of the EU states.

The purpose of ETIAS is reportedly to control the potential threats of ineligible individuals, and also to quicken, facilitate, reinforce and simplify border control procedures against document and identity fraud.

Photo: DoTravel

All those from the visa-free countries will need to hold a valid ETIAS prior to boarding, and the application can be done online. It is recommended to apply at least 72 hours prior to departure.

It will cost RM48.30 (10 Euros), however those under the age of 18 will be able to obtain ETIAS for free without any fees. All it takes to apply for ETIAS is a valid passport, credit card, and necessary contact details such as a valid address, phone number and email address.

Do take note that not all submissions will be approved, and should your application be rejected, an email will be sent to you explaining why it was refused.

Amongst the countries which require ETIAS include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City State.