The European Travel Information and Authorisation System also known as ETIAS for Europe was introduced as a formal proposal in November 2016. The European visa waiver scheme proposal is being developed for the purpose of improving immigration and border control to avoid future health and security threats in the EU. ETIAS Europe was formally introduced by the European Commission in 2016 for initial implementation in 2021.

What does ETIAS mean in and outside of Europe?

The estimated date to begin with the ETIAS Europe visa waiver is 2021 which will affect different groups of people in different ways.

ETIAS in Europe:
  • Citizens of the Schengen zone countries and the EU will be affected by ETIAS as it is a new initiative to improve safety and security within the bloc. The aim is to reduce immigration problems, speed up border control procedures and decrease health and terrorist threats within the ETIAS countries in Europe.

ETIAS for non-Europeans:

  • People from all over the world, as citizens of the countries who currently travel to Europe visa-free such as America, Canada, Brazil, Japan etc., will need to apply online for a travel authorization for Europe before departure which will be requested upon entry through any land, sea or airport in the EU Schengen Area. The ETIAS eligible countries refer to all those countries whose citizens are entitled to visit Europe with a visa waiver.

  • The only group of people that will not be directly influenced by ETIAS in any way are those citizens from countries who currently and will continue to need to apply for a Schengen visa to visit Europe. These are the citizens of countries who are on the list of countries that require a traditional embassy or consulate visa to visit the EU.

ETIAS Visa Waiver for Europe Application

The application for ETIAS will be a simple online form that requires certain basic information from travelers which will determine whether or not the applicant is eligible for an ETIAS for Europe.

The European Commission have assured travelers that the ETIAS application form will be easy to use and will be processed quickly, screening applicants against various security databases such as Interpol and the ETIAS Watchlist, and sending them their approved ETIAS visa waiver via email within minutes.

For the time being the EU has yet to finalize the process but tests are underway and the ETIAS program will shortly be a fact of life for eligible citizens traveling to Europe.