The European continent attracts millions of foreign visitors every year. Currently, there are more than 60 countries that do not need a visa to travel to Europe. However, it is worth clarifying that citizens of these countries are exempt from obtaining a Schengen visa to enter the Schengen Area. In order to visit countries outside the Schengen Zone it is necessary to contact the respective embassy. The United Kingdom, for example, has other entry requirements than the requirements established by the Schengen Area. In the year 2021, citizens of these visa exempt countries will be required to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver to travel to Schengen member countries.
Citizens from the following 62 countries can travel to the Schengen Zone for periods of up to 90 days without having to process a visa. Travelers exempt from a European visa need to travel with a valid passport from one of the following countries:
Country of origin of the traveler to Europe
- Antigua y Barbuda
- Bosnia y Herzegovina
- Corea del Sur
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Emiratos Árabes Unidos
- Estados Unidos
- Hong Kong
- Islas Marshall
- Islas Salomón
- Nueva Zelanda
- San Cristóbal y Nieves
- Santa Lucía
The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European nations that have abolished the controls of their shared external borders. Do not confuse the Schengen Area with the European Union. There are member states of the EU that are part of the Schengen Area and member states that are not.
Among the 26 member countries of the Schengen Area there are 22 EU member countries, 4 member countries of the Free Trade Association, and 3 micro-states. Countries that do not need a visa to travel to Europe will have to, as of the year 2021, process an ETIAS travel authorization.
ETIAS is a travel authorization that will be implemented to improve the security of the external and common borders of the Schengen Area. The ETIAS system aims to identify people who could pose a threat to the region. The ETIAS permit will be needed to visit the member countries of the Schengen Zone, the ETIAS countries are the 26 Schengen member states.
Which countries will need the ETIAS travel authorization?
The countries that will need an ETIAS travel authorization are the 62 countries that are currently exempt from a visa to travel to the Schengen Area. Requesting an ETIAS visa waiver for Europe will be a quick and easy process.
A citizen of one of the 62 eligible countries will simply need to have an Internet connection and a computer, mobile, or tablet in order to complete the ETIAS online form. Eligible travelers need to comply with ETIAS requirements before completing the form. The requirements to successfully process ETIAS include a valid passport, an email address, and a debit or credit card to pay the ETIAS fee.
To complete an ETIAS application, travelers must provide their personal information, travel details and passport information. Each applicant must answer a series of security questions related to their health status, criminal background and if they have visited conflict zones in recent years.
The European Union ensures that the majority of ETIAS applications will be processed in a matter of minutes. However, in some cases, some ETIAS applications might be processed manually to verify the accuracy of the traveler's data. All the information provided by a traveler is contrasted with international security databases and the Schengen Area.
Who will have to obtain the ETIAS visa waiver to travel to Europe?
Any citizen of an eligible country wishing to travel to Europe, specifically the Schengen Area, will have to process their ETIAS visa waiver.
The ETIAS visa exemption is a security measure and a way to improve immigration control upon arrival in European territories. The European Union is committed to making Europe more secure and one of its actions to achieve this is to implement the ETIAS system.
To be able to visit any member country of the Schengen Area it will be necessary to obtain the ETIAS travel authorization at least 72 hours before the scheduled departure time. All travelers wishing to visit Europe, including minors, will be required to process ETIAS. Once approved, ETIAS will be valid for three consecutive years and for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.