ETIAS Visa Waiver Basics
Traveling in the border‑free Schengen zone
ETIAS, the European Travel Information System, provides qualifying visitors a visa waiver when traveling to the Schengen Area, a group of European countries that have agreed upon who can visit and how long they can stay.
The Schengen Area was created by the European Union, or EU, in the spirit of harmonious and free travel between borders and has grown to 26 countries – most are in the EU but some are not. Given the influx of international travelers to the Schengen Area, more comprehensive security checks have had to be put in place. ETIAS, much like ESTA in the United States, will create centralized data on who is visiting and why, providing enhanced security for all.
Click the link to learn more about the Schengen Travel Zone
• Approved ETIAS applicants can travel in and between countries in the Schengen Area, for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
• Qualifying travel purposes include tourism, short-term business reasons such as a conference or client meeting, short-term education such as an internship, and medical procedures.
• ETIAS approval is valid for 3 years with no travel limit, as long as the traveler has a passport not expiring for 90 days from the day of arrival abroad. However, your ETIAS expires when your passport does.
• ETIAS is an online system that runs a comprehensive security check on applicants to make border crossings easier and travel safer. Just one small error – even a misspelling – can delay approval or even cause denial of your entry into a participating ETIAS country
• You must apply for ETIAS in advance of your trip. The approval process can take up to four days, but most applications are approved immediately.
• ETIAS approval allows you to bypass time-consuming and potentially costly visits to embassies and consulates.
• ETIAS is not a visa. It is a visa waiver. If the purpose of your trip does not fall under the scope of ETIAS, you will need to apply for a traditional visa with each country on your itinerary.
Where You Can Travel With ETIAS
It’s important to understand that The Schengen Area is not the same as the European Union (EU). While many countries within the area are members of the EU, some are not, such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Also keep in mind that some countries are currently pending approval for ETIAS participation, such as Croatia. Check the ETIAS Guide often for the most updated information regarding where you can travel with an approved ETIAS. Right now, the following list of countries are ETIAS participants:
- The Azores
- Canary Islands
- Czech Republic
Some countries are currently in process of being approved for participation in ETIAS, such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. Right now ETIAS is not valid for travel in those countries, but it may be in the future. ETIAS is not and will not be valid for travel to Ireland or The United Kingdom.