ETIAS stands for European Travel and Information Authorisation System. ETIAS is not a visa but an electronic travel authorisation and will be a mandatory entry requirement for citizens of over 60 countries. Children will be required to have a valid ETIAS upon arrival at any of the 26 Schengen member countries. Parents will need to complete the ETIAS application on behalf of their children.
Citizens of 62 countries including the United States, Brazil, Japan, Canada and Chile, are able to visit Europe for short term stays without a visa. From 2022, such countries will maintain their visa-free privileges but will need to register with ETIAS before travel. The system is being developed by the European agency eu-LISA, which operates large-scale IT security systems.
Why do children need ETIAS to visit Europe?
The EU believes that there is a need to know who is crossing shared European borders to better secure the region. Though children are not necessarily considered a threat, the EU needs to control who is entering the region and when. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker presented the proposal in his 2016 State of the Union Address, he expressed the need for the European Union to better secure its external borders.
The ETIAS application form can be easily completed by the parent or guardian. They will need to provide the child’s details including their full name (as it appears on passport) and the passport data. The parent or guardian will also need to specify that they are indeed completing the ETIAS application form on behalf of their child.
The system is being designed to increase security and protect the Schengen Area. One of the main goals is for ETIAS to make border crossing fast and efficient. The system will pre-screen a traveller before they can even leave for Europe. When a person has entered their data and submitted the application, the ETIAS system will compare all of the information against a series of security databases that include the Interpol and Europol.
This European system will be able to identify whether an applicant has lied on the security questions section or determine whether they are applying with a stolen passport. If the system identifies an issue with an application, an alert will be raised, and the respective ETIAS team will manually check the application to verify the applicant’s details and background.
How to complete the ETIAS application for a child?
Parents or guardians should not be concerned about completing the ETIAS application form for their children. ETIAS is not a visa and the application is more straightforward, requiring just a few specific personal details. Each application should take about 10 minutes to fill in.
The information that the ETIAS application requires of each traveller is the following:
- Full name
- Country and date of birth
- Contact details (phone, address)
The parent or guardian will also need to provide their full name, and mark on the application that they are completing the application for a minor.
The parent or guardian completing the application should indicate the country of intended first entry. They will need to fill in the child’s passport number as well as the passport issuing and expiration date. Children cannot travel under their parent or guardian’s passport. The child needs to have their own passport to travel to Europe.
Among the ETIAS requirements, besides having a valid passport, the applicant needs an email address. When a parent is completing the ETIAS form for their child, they can give their personal email address. This is where information about the status of the ETIAS visa waiver will be sent. The parent will receive notifications about the status of their child’s ETIAS application. Once the ETIAS visa waiver is approved, the holder can travel on multiple occasions over a period of 3 consecutive years, unless the passport expires.
Each person who wishes to travel to one or more countries in the Schengen Area will need to have a valid ETIAS in the year 2022. Families cannot apply as a family or as a group, an individual application will be required per family member.