As traveling becomes cheaper and more accessible in the modern day, more people are visiting different countries than ever before. However, despite the many benefits and positives of increased world travel, anyone being able to travel anywhere poses inherent risks to national safety and security for countries frequently visited.
Unfortunately, terrorism and migration-related risks are on the rise in many European countries, and are thus a serious concern for many nations. In response, they are starting to implement certain measures in order to screen visitors and ensure the safety of their citizens. ETIAS is one such screening method.
Who Needs ETIAS?
Find your country in an interactive map of countries that require ETIAS. When ETIAS launches in 2021, it will be necessary for citizens of 59 different countries (such as the U.S., Australia, and more) who currently travel without any kind of visa. They will be required to fill the ETIAS waiver if they wish to travel to E.U. countries for any purpose such as tourism, business, or just passing through.
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System, and it aims to ensure the security of European Union citizens by obtaining information from and about citizens of certain non-E.U. countries who currently travel to the E.U. without a visa. ETIAS is an electronic visa waiver and authorization. Eligible travelers will need to fill out an online application with information about themselves and the reason they are traveling.
Many countries currently use visa waivers to assess travelers. The American ESTA system, the Canadian eTA, and Australia’s eVisitor are all electronic authorization systems designed to screen travelers to those countries and determine if they pose any risk. ETIAS is the newest screening system which the E.U. is implementing.
The E.U. Commission believes that this screening measure will help hinder terrorist and criminal activities and that having more information on travelers will help ensure national and international security. ETIAS will also be a step towards reducing the number of travelers who still need a Schengen visa to enter the E.U.
ETIAS vs Schengen Visa
E.U. and Schengen nationals can travel and work freely in each other’s countries with no restrictions. Most E.U. countries are in Schengen, but some are not, and vice versa. In essence, Schengen citizens will not need any kind of visa or waiver to visit other Schengen countries.
Citizens of certain countries not in Schengen that currently travel visa-free will be allowed to use ETIAS to travel to those E.U. nations. ETIAS will permit them entry into Europe for up to 90 days within a 180 day period, and will stay valid for 3 years.
Citizens of many other countries, especially those who have weaker ties to the European Union, are not eligible for ETIAS and will continue needing a Schengen visa to travel to Europe. These are issued for one European country for up to 90 days, and are manually entered into a citizen’s passport.
ETIAS for American Citizens
American citizens will be able to apply for ETIAS when it launches in 2021. The application will be done online, and Americans will be able to travel to Europe by air, sea, or over land. They will have to fill out the application 96 hours before departure, and will be required to have their ETIAS to enter a Schengen country. Once it is completed, the application will likely be approved promptly and the person will receive an electronic document confirming their eligibility for travel into the E.U.
ETIAS for Australian Citizens
Similarly to U.S. citizens, Australians will need to apply for ETIAS in 2021. They will also need the waiver to travel to E.U. countries, and will be allowed to remain in their destination country for up to 90 days.
ETIAS for Canadian Citizens
Like citizens of other non-Schengen countries, Canadians will have to apply for the ETIAS online and get approved in order to travel to the E.U.
ETIAS for British Citizens
Although Britain was a part of the E.U. up until very recently, its citizens will need to complete the ETIAS to travel to other European countries. There is a small possibility that British citizens will be required to have a Schengen visa to travel to the E.U. before the ETIAS launches, but it has not been officially decided yet.
ETIAS for Brazilian Citizens
Brazilian citizens will also be eligible for ETIAS in 2021, and should apply online to get authorized to travel to Schengen countries. They’ll be able to travel for tourism, business, or transit if they are approved for up to 90 days.
ETIAS for Japanese Citizens
Japanese citizens, like other non-Schengen nationals, will be able to apply for the ETIAS once it launches in 2021, and will be able to travel to any Schengen country once authorized by the system.
The ETIAS application will be done completely online in order to optimize and speed up the authorization process. With technological improvements over the last few years, screenings like this can be done entirely online to accurately assess and approve people for travel.
Make sure you are from one of the ETIAS eligible countries before you apply. To fill out the application, you will need an electronic device with access to the internet, as well as a current valid passport. Your passport should also be machine readable, and depending on your country, you may also need an electronic passport that has the correct electronic passport symbol or chip.
The application should not take long. You will have to provide basic personal information, passport or other travel document information, and answer ETIAS background and eligibility questions. Lastly, the application fee is €7 for most applicants. However, those under the age of 18 or over 70 can apply free of charge.
Once the application is submitted, it will be processed, and the applicant will be able to find out whether they got approved or not within minutes.
If you are declined an ETIAS or are not eligible, you will likely need to apply for a Schengen visa in order to visit E.U. countries.