At the present moment, for many travelers around the world Europe is one of the easiest places to visit in terms of red tape and travel paper work. There are different categories of visitor to Europe, divided into two lists: the first refers to citizens who are eligible to travel to Europe by requesting a travel visa and the second refers to those citizens who have the right to enter and travel around Europe without a visa nor any type of travel authorization.
After various health and security threats that have shown the fragility of some border controls, the EU has announced that it will now be introducing a registry system for travelers entering Europe from 2021. This scheme will be similar to the US ESTA or Australian eTA which have been functioning well for several years to improve immigration control at ports of entry.
This new visa waiver for European travel is to be known as ETIAS: the European Travel Information and Authorisation System.
Do I need a visa to visit Europe?
Whether or not you will need a full Schengen visa from a European embassy or simply an ETIAS travel authorization depends entirely on your nationality.
Where you are from will determine if you are required to attend an embassy or consulate in your country of origin to obtain a Schengen visa or if you can simply apply online for an ETIAS before traveling. You can see the full list of ETIAS eligible countries to find out if your country has this agreement with Europe to allow its citizens visa-free travel in Europe like those which affect US citizens and Japanese citizens among others.
Another deciding factor to make certain you apply for the correct visa for Europe is the length of your intended stay. The ETIAS visa for Europe only permits travelers to remain in any of the Schengen-zone European countries for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period. Even if you are eligible for ETIAS but wish to stay for a longer time period than 90 days you will have to consult your embassy and apply for the appropriate visa for your desired stay.
When you confirm that your citizenship allows you to travel to Europe visa-free, just applying for an ETIAS travel authorization, you will have to ensure you have the following elements available to make the application without any problems:
All citizens applying for an ETIAS will need the following:
- Passport issued by an ETIAS-eligible country
- Credit or Debit card to pay the ETIAS fee
- And a valid email address
The applicant’s passport must be valid for a minimum of 3 months beyond the intended stay in Europe. The traveler will receive notifications and the approved ETIAS visa waiver email so it is important to ensure the address you use is accurate and you have access to it.
See more information about ETIAS requirements by nationality
Visa Waiver for Europe Application
The ETIAS application process will be simple and quick to do, allowing eligible applicants to obtain their approved ETIAS within minutes, saving time and effort by applying through the online platform.
The ETIAS process will include an application form with fields asking for the candidate’s personal details such as name, date of birth etc. as well as their passport information and finally some basic security questions regarding health and immigration history.
The European visa waiver application will be sent to the entity responsible for ETIAS who will check all the details and screen the applications against various security databases including Interpol and the ETIAS watchlist.
Find out the eligibility requirements and how to complete an ETIAS application form