What is the ETIAS Visa Waiver?
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. The European Union has created this visa waiver program to protect and strengthen its borders. The main goal of the ETIAS visa waiver for Europe is to identify possible threats or risks associated with visitors traveling to any of the Schengen Area countries. The ETIAS visa waiver program will be needed to enter a Schengen member country. In 2021, all visitors that currently do not need a visa to enter Europe will be expected to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization.
The ETIAS for Europe will grant travelers authorization to visit the ETIAS countries, which are the 26 members that compose the Schengen Zone. The countries that make up this specific region acknowledge the abolishment of internal borders with other member countries.
Currently there are 60 countries that will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver when visiting the Schengen Zone. It is likely that ETIAS will be available to more countries in the future.
The ETIAS visa waiver has been designed for short-term stays of up to 90 days. Tourism and business travelers will be expected to have an approved ETIAS when traveling to any of the Schengen member countries.
Countries whose citizens require ETIAS for Europe
At the moment there are 60 eligible countries that will be required to submit an online ETIAS application. Many of these countries' citizens can currently travel to Europe without the need of a visa waiver. The ETIAS for Europe is a system that will pre-screen travelers before they even board a plane. All information provided on the ETIAS application will be closely examined and checked against security databases.
The ETIAS visa waiver will be valid for short-term stays and for business or leisure purposes. Those who wish to study and work in Europe will need to apply for a different visa. Once approved, an ETIAS can be used for three years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.
The EU decided to implement ETIAS to improve security in the Schengen Area. By obtaining a travel authorization, visa-free travelers will still undergo a security check prior to their arrival to the EU.
- Country of origin
- European destination
- Schengen eligible countries
COUNTRY 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
Currently, there are 26 countries in Europe that will require an ETIAS travel authorization as an added security measure.
The ETIAS is a travel authorization for business or touristic purposes, and will not be a substitute for a student or working visa. Any third country nationals who wish to live, study, work, or remain in Europe longer than 90 consecutive days, will have to apply for a different type of visa.
Citizens of the EU traveling in the Schengen Area can travel with either their national identity card or passport, and are not subject to any other type of border control at their mutual borders.
ETIAS: How does it work?
The visa waiver for Europe, ETIAS, will be available online for all travelers who wish to visit one or more countries in the Schengen Zone. Travelers need to meet the ETIAS requirements in order to complete and receive an ETIAS travel authorization successfully.
In order to apply online for the ETIAS, applicants need a valid passport, an email address, and a debit or credit card to pay for the application fee. These are the essential ETIAS requirements for applying for the European visa waiver.
The ETIAS application only requests that travelers complete basic biographic information including full name, date of birth, and country of residency. When completing the ETIAS application, the applicant should provide their passport details. At the end of the process, there will be a set of security and health questions.
Most applications will be processed within minutes. All applications are checked across a series of security databases, among them, SIS, VIS, EUROPOL DATA, Interpol, and more. ETIAS has its unique screening rules and a watchlist. Once an application has been revised, the applicant will receive a confirmation email with the travel authorization at the email address provided.
The ETIAS can only be used for transit, tourism, and business travel. ETIAS will be requested by travel carriers prior to the beginning of the trip. Not having an ETIAS could have serious consequences, including denial of entry to the Schengen member country. The travel authorization will be an obligatory requirement as of 2021.
WHEN DOES EU ETIAS BECOME OBLIGATORY?
The European Commission officially announced that the ETIAS travel authorization system will become a reality. The EU Parliament and Commission will provide the financial support it will take to implement ETIAS and development will start immediately.
Once the EU ETIAS travel authorization becomes operational, all citizens from visa waiver countries mentioned above will be required to submit an application before their trip. However, and for the time being, they can continue to travel to Europe without a travel authorization.
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