ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System, it is a form of electronic travel authorization. From 2021, visitors travelling to the Schengen Area will need to obtain an ETIAS travel authorization prior to their trip.

In light of the recent increased security risk to both EU citizens and to those travelling to the Schengen Area, the EU has decided to implement ETIAS to ensure the safety of all those within its borders. The EU began the legal procedures for introducing ETIAS in 2016, though it will not come into effect until 2021.

What is ETIAS for?

ETIAS is designed to improve the security of the region by screening travellers before their arrival in the Schengen Area. The ETIAS process will determine whether a citizen can enter the Schengen Area or not.

To obtain an ETIAS travel authorization it will be necessary to complete a straightforward online application form. Applicants have to enter their personal details such as their name, date of birth and address, information about their trip, as well as some security questions.

By cross-checking information against various databases, ETIAS will be able to detect if a person is a security threat to any of the Schengen countries.

ETIAS has similar objectives to the well-known American ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Both systems provide an added layer of control over visa-exempt foreign citizens.

To successfully apply for an ETIAS visam waiver, it is necessary to have a valid passport, a credit or debit card, and an email account. These are the main ETIAS requirements which each applicant must have. Without the right travel document the applicant could be denied access.

The ETIAS for Europe will grant travellers authorization to visit all 26 of the ETIAS countries, which are the nations which make up the Schengen Area. After entering the zone, visitors can move freely between the Schengen countries as there are not hard internal borders.

As things stand there are 60 countries that will need to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization to visit the Schengen Zone. However, more countries are likely to be added to the scheme in the future.

The ETIAS visa waiver allows for short-term stays of up to 90 days. Tourism and business travellers will be expected to have an approved ETIAS when travelling to any of the Schengen Area.

Citizens wishing to travel to the Schengen Area to work or study need to apply for a different type of visa, the ETIAS visa is for tourism or business purposes. Once approved, an ETIAS travel authorization can be used for three consecutive years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.