Many frequent travelers are not aware that they may soon need to obtain travel authorization to visit a number of European countries: the ETIAS visa waiver, which will be available online by 2022.
This electronic travel authorization system was first proposed by the European Commission in 2016, and it was estimated that it would take roughly 5 years to implement across all of the 26 Schengen countries.
The countries for which ETIAS will be required are those that have signed the Schengen Agreement for passport-free travel, which includes 22 European Union countries including Spain, France, Germany, and Italy.
It also includes the 4 non-European Union states of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, as well as the 3 microstates of Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican.
Depending on your nationality, you may be required to submit an ETIAS application by the end of 2021 if you are planning to visit any of the Schengen Area countries listed above.
Nationalities required to Submit an ETIAS Application
The nationalities that need ETIAS will be all those who are currently visa-exempt for the Schengen countries for short stays for purposes for tourism, business, transit, or medical treatment.
This means that if you currently have visa exemption for the Schengen Area for short trips, you may soon have to meet the extra requirement of submitting an ETIAS application to visit Europe as a vacation destination.
This has been designed to be a simple process that will only take a few minutes to complete by submitting basic travel details as well as some personal and passport information. Once approved, the authorization will be electronically linked to the applicant’s passport.
An approved ETIAS visa waiver allows multiple entries to the entire Schengen Area during its validity, with a 90-day stay permitted with each entry within a 180-day period. The authorization is valid for a total of 3 years from the date of approval, or until the passport to which it is linked expires.
This means that travelers do not have to submit an ETIAS application before every trip to any of the European Schengen countries during the entire validity of the travel authorization. ETIAS is also expected to be accepted on any mode of transport you may take to get to Europe, whether traveling by air, sea, or land.
List of ETIAS-Required Countries
The list of those that will need ETIAS once it is introduced will include citizens of countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United States. The full list is as follows:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Brunei Darussalam
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Federated States of Micronesia
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Timor Leste
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United States
However, nationals of these countries should remember that ETIAS is only valid for short stays with each entry. If they wish to stay for longer consecutive periods, they will have to apply for a Schengen visa at the nearest relevant embassy or consulate of the individual European destination they want to visit.
Application Requirements for ETIAS Countries
In order to submit an ETIAS application online, eligible citizens will simply have to fill in the electronic form with some personal, passport, and travel information and answer the health and security questions present on the form. In total, this process should not take longer than 10 minutes to complete.
All of the data the applicant has supplied will be checked against serval security databases in Europe, including Europol, SIS, and VIS, before the application can be approved, in order to pre-screen travelers for any security or health risks to European borders.
Finally, the applicant will be prompted to pay the ETIAS processing fee using a valid credit or debit card before they can submit the application for processing.
All ETIAS-eligible travelers should ensure that their current passport is valid for at least 3 months from the intended date of entry to the Schengen Area. Dual nationals should note that the same passport must be used to both complete the application and to travel to Europe.
The holder of an approved ETIAS may then present this electronically-linked passport to Schengen border control agents to gain entry to Europe when they arrive. Although an ETIAS is expected to be processed quickly, applicants are still advised to apply well in advance of their travel dates to allow for enough time to receive an approved authorization.