What is ETIAS Visa Waiver?
ETIAS - European Travel Information and Authorization System, is a visa waiver program created by the European Commission, to protect and strengthen the security of Europe’s borders by identifying any risks associated with visa exempt visitors traveling to any of the Schengen Area countries.
This proposal came following the recent and devastating terrorist acts that happened in a number of European countries.The European Commission is sure that the implementation of Visa ETIAS will help increase security as there will be a better control of all foreign citizens who travel to Europe. All future visitors that currently do not need a visa to enter Europe, will need to complete an online application to obtain an ETIAS visa online travel authorization, before their trip. The required information will determine the passenger’s eligibility to enter the Schengen Area as well as whether they pose any migration or security risks.
This would be done by automatically processing each application submitted via a website or a mobile application. The information will be processed via a number of EU information systems such as a dedicated ETIAS watchlist and clearly defined screening rules. This examination would allow to determine that there are no factual indications or reasonable grounds to prevent an ETIAS travel authorization being issued.
Following approval of this proposal, Regulation (EU), 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of people across the Schengen borders was amended. It was approved that the development of an authorization verification system for third country nationals whose personal details, together with their entry and exit dates, would be recorded into the EES system (Entry/Exit system).
Currently, 60 countries will need to apply for an ETIAS Visa Waiver when traveling to the European continent. Amongst the countries eligible to apply for an ESTA are the United States of America, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, South Korea and Japan. Even more, will be added to the list in the near future.
The scheme, which is based on the similar US ESTA electronic travel authorization, would cover those foreign nationals who enter the EU every year from 60 visa-waiver countries including: the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. This ETIAS eligible countries list could soon include others such as Ukraine and Georgia, which are in the process of being approved.
Who needs to apply for ETIAS EU?
The ETIAS for EU proposal suggests that initially there will be 60 countries eligible to submit an online ETIAS visa waiver application. Even though this information is yet to be formally confirmed, and as a measure to increase security and monitor all passengers traveling to Europe, it is expected that the ETIAS travel authorization for EU visitors will first apply to all countries that do not need to request a visa to enter Europe.
Please refer to the map below for the complete list of countries that will need to apply for an ETIAS before traveling to Europe.
- 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
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Timor Leste
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United States of America
- Vatican City
- Czech Republic
Currently there are 26 countries in Europe that will require an ETIAS Visa authorization as an added security measure.
NOTE: EU countries Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus and Ireland are not part of the Schengen Area and have their regulations regarding visa authorizations.
The ETIAS visa 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 do not need a passport and are not subject to any other type of border control at their mutual borders.
WHEN DOES EU ETIAS BECOME OBLIGATORY?
The European Commission officially announced that ETIAS travel authorization system will become a reality. The EU Parliament and Commission will provide the financial support it will take to implement the ETIAS and that 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 visa.
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ETIAS Visa Frequently asked questions
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