A mobile app for ETIAS will be created to further facilitate the application process of third-country nationals travelling to the European Union once the EU visa waiver is implemented in late 2022.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is being introduced to increase border security whilst maintaining easy access to Europe.
For this reason, the ETIAS application process is fully electronic, with no need to leave home to attend an interview at an embassy or consulate or present paperwork in person.
To facilitate the process of obtaining the visa waiver, the EU has indicated that an ETIAS mobile app will be launched in addition to a dedicated website.
Whilst the website will provide the easiest and most practical way to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver, a mobile app may be useful for travellers on the move or those who do not have access to a laptop or PC.
As the ETIAS mobile app has not been released to date (June 2020) exact details are currently not available. This article explains what we know so far about the software including the release date and how it can be used to obtain ETIAS.
Applying for ETIAS Through the Website and Mobile App
Before beginning the application process, non-EU nationals should check they meet the ETIAS requirements and have all the necessary information to hand.
The ETIAS process is 100% online, all information is provided electronically and the visa waiver itself is linked digitally to the passport.
The option to apply using a mobile app is one way in which ETIAS is different from ESTA and other visa waiver programmes. Whilst there are many similarities between ETIAS and ESTA, the travel authorisation for the US can only be obtained via the website, no mobile app has been released for this purpose.
Although an ETIAS mobile app will exist, it is expected that, once the system is up and running, most eligible foreigners will register via the website. Just a laptop or PC, and internet access, are needed and the application can be completed in just a few minutes.
What information is required to apply for ETIAS using the mobile app?
Passport holders need to provide the same information whether they are applying using the mobile app or the website. In either case, all details provided will be subject to the ETIAS data protection policy.
Article 17 of the ETIAS regulation stipulates the information that travellers will be asked to provide, including:
- Full name plus any alias or artistic name(s)
- Contact details such as the home address, email address and phone number
- Passport number, expiry, and issue dates
- The first country to be visited
Parents and guardians applying for ETIAS for a minor should fill out the form on the child’s behalf and indicate their relationship to the youngster.
Travellers who opt for the mobile app ought to take special care when filling out the ETIAS application form. It is generally more difficult to spot errors on a mobile phone screen, especially spelling mistakes and incorrect digits. Providing incorrect data at this stage may lead to delays or even ETIAS refusal.
To complete the process, payment of the ETIAS fees is made online using a credit or debit card.
Who Can Apply Using the ETIAS Mobile App?
Anyone applying from home or from the office is recommended to do so via the website, which is the most practical option and the process can be completed in minutes.
The ETIAS mobile app is useful for individuals who need to request the permit whilst moving around and without access to a laptop or desktop computer.
Tourists travelling by coach, for example, who will cross a Schengen Area external border as part of their trip can apply for ETIAS using the mobile app if they have not done so on the website prior to departure.
The ETIAS mobile app may also be useful for business people with meetings or conferences scheduled in a Schengen nation. They can obtain the permit using the ETIAS mobile app whilst on the move.
A mobile app will also allow for spontaneous trips to any of the ETIAS countries. Holidaymakers visiting several places on one trip can decide to add European destinations to their itinerary, requesting the essential European travel authorisation from the ETIAS mobile app wherever they are in the world.
What languages is the ETIAS mobile app available in?
As ETIAS will be needed by citizens of over 60 countries, it is important that the website and mobile app are available in several different languages and understood by all applicants.
For this reason, article 16 of the ETIAS regulation stipulates that:
The public website and the app for mobile devices shall be available in all the official languages of the Member States.
Travellers should, therefore, be able to access the form in a language familiar to them. Factsheets and step-by-step guides to using the different application platforms will also be published in numerous languages.
When Will the ETIAS Mobile App Be Available?
The European Union recently announced that the ETIAS start date has to be pushed back to 2022. It had previously been scheduled for release in 2021, however, more time was considered beneficial to ensure a smooth transitioning to the new system.
The mobile app has not yet been released but should be available to download by the time ETIAS is launched.
There will be a 6-month grace period until the beginning of 2023. During this time, eligible travellers will be able to request ETIAS using the mobile app, however, it will not be mandatory at this stage.
This transition period will allow people to get familiar with the new technology before ETIAS becomes obligatory.
How to download the ETIAS mobile app
Details about the ETIAS mobile app have not been finalised with more information expected closer to the release date.
Nevertheless, it is likely that the software will be available from all major app stores and marketplaces. The ETIAS mobile app will be compatible with both Android and Apple devices.
The ETIAS mobile app will be downloaded from the relevant store to the smartphone, once completed an icon will appear on the screen from where the software can be accessed.