Everything you need to know about ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System). Read the latest news, information, and updates, and find out how eligible citizens will be able to apply when ETIAS is implemented.
What is ETIAS?
The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is a visa waiver program which is expected to come into effect by the end of 2021. The aim of ETIAS Europe is to strengthen the borders of the Schengen Area by pre-checking the data of travelers before they enter the zone.
Citizens from any of the 60 eligible countries will need to complete the online application and obtain an approved ETIAS visa waiver before entering any of the Schengen countries. The program will be very similar to the ESTA visa waiver which many nationalities need to obtain before traveling to the US.
The ETIAS visa waiver will allow eligible travelers to enter the Schengen Area for short-term stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business. Visitors can move freely between the Schengen countries as there are no internal hard borders within the zone.
ETIAS EU is considered to be a visa waiver program as, unlike conventional visas, there will be no need to physically go to an embassy or consulate. The whole process will be completed online.
Who needs an ETIAS visa waiver?
There are currently 60 nationalities who will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver though more countries may be added to the list in the future. Many of these nationalities can currently travel to the Schengen Area visa-free but this will change when ETIAS is implemented.
Citizens from non-eligible countries will need to apply for a Schengen Europe Visa to enter the region. There are also different types of visas available for people who want to study or work in Europe as ETIAS is not designed for these purposes.
Countries of origin
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Timor Leste
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
How does the ETIAS system work?
Once ETIAS has been implemented, citizens from eligible countries will need to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver before entering any of the countries in the Schengen Area. The online application will only take a matter or minutes to complete.
Applicants will need to answer a series of questions by entering basic information such as their name, address, date of birth, and passport details. There will also be some questions regarding health and security.
The information provided by applicants will be screened using relevant security databases. The majority of applications will be processed within minutes though some may take longer.
Once approved, the ETIAS visa waiver will be sent to the applicant electronically. Travelers will be able to present the document when they arrive in the Schengen Area to gain entry.
Why an European travel authorization?
The ETIAS visa waiver program has been created to strengthen the security of the region. Screening travelers before they enter the Schengen Area will allow the authorities to identify potential security risks and prevent them from entering the zone.
The European Commission adopted the ETIAS proposal in November 2016. It is part of an effort to enhance border management as a response to the growing number of terrorist attacks across Europe’s major cities.
ETIAS will protect visitors to the Schengen Area as well as European citizens and residents. The online application process has been designed to be hassle-free and straightforward, there will be no need to go to an embassy or consulate.