European Travel Information Authorisation System coming 2022
- Posted on 28 Nov, 2021
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ETIAS on track to launch by the end of 2022
Near the end of 2022, citizens from 60 visa-exempt countries will have to change the way they travel to Europe. You will no longer be able to cross European borders with simply a passport, and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) visa waiver will be required for short-term travel to the Schengen Area of Europe. Learn more.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System, also known as ETIAS, serves two main purposes:
- Perform security checks on third-country nationals
- Monitor entry and exit of non-Schengen citizens
For countries considered ‘visa exempt’, you still do not need a visa for short-term travel (90 days or fewer), but you will be required to apply for pre-authorisation to cross the external borders of the Schengen Zone, a 26-country region of Europe.
Once your application is approved, your ETIAS authorisation is valid for three years, or until your passport expires, whichever occurs first. Authorisation allows you to cross any external Schengen border and then freely cross internal borders without the need for additional paperwork.
There is a similar system in place in the United States known as ESTA, the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation.
Which countries can I visit with an ETIAS Waiver?
The ETIAS waiver covers a wide area of Europe. You can visit any or all of the 26 countries and three microstates that comprise the Schengen Area. ETIAS countries include:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, Vatican City.
Most European Union countries are part of the Schengen Zone, but note that several are not and have separate travel requirements:
Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.
Which countries are eligible for visa-free travel to Europe?
Citizens of the following countries will need to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver:
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Timor Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanautu, Vatican City and Venezuela.
How do I know if I need a visa waiver?
Citizens from 60 visa-exempt will need to apply for the visa waiver, but it also depends on how long you intend to travel. Tourists, students, and those travelling for business for 90 days or fewer in any 180-day period may apply for ETIAS. Any intended stays longer than 90 days will require a traditional visa application.
What is the Entry/Exit System?
The Entry/Exit System (EES) is an electronic system designed by the European Union (EU) to register the entry and exit of all non-EU nationals at the external borders. Prior to this, short-term travellers have gone unrecorded; the EES with enhance security and help mitigate border concerns such as trafficking, irregular migration, and terrorism.
The EES has been developed in conjunction with the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, which is a digital document tied to your passport that provides travel authorisation to the Schengen Zone. When you cross an external border, border control will scan your passport, note your authorisation, and register your entry through the EES.
The goal is to better secure the borders, and the system will also notify travelers when they are nearing the expiration of their stay.
When will I be able to apply for the ETIAS? Can I apply ahead of time?
Applications for ETIAS will open late 2022 for travel starting January 1, 2023. The application process is completed completely online, and you will need to apply in advance of your travels. It is anticipated that most applications will be processed and approved within several days. However, there may be rare instances where the application could take up to 30 days to process. Some could be denied.
In order to avoid processing delays or ETIAS application denials, the application must be filled out correctly and without any errors. Typographical errors or any other anomalies in the application can alert the system to conduct a deeper review.
For example, if the name on your application does not match your passport, you could experience a delay. Applications are processed electronically through European Union security databases, and any matches or ‘hits’ will require further review.
How do I apply for the ETIAS waiver?
The ETIAS application is entirely electronic. The online application requires you to have a current, valid passport, and you must provide accurate biographical information. The application is processed within days (in most instances) and is valid for three years or when your passport expires, depending on which occurs first.
Follow our ETIAS travel news for articles and information about the new travel waiver for Europe.