A Complete Guide to the European Travel Information and Authorization System
For those without a visa, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) improves security procedures before travel to the European Union (EU). ETIAS, established in November 2016, is scheduled to go into force in 2023 and affect individuals from more than 60 countries.
ETIAS’s main goal is to detect hazards to security and irregular migration brought on by visa-exempt visitors to the Schengen area while facilitating border crossing for those who do not. Additionally, it will standardise the processes for evaluating foreign nationals’ risk of entry rejection and lower entry refusal rates at border crossings.
Travellers from nations that have liberalised their visa policies can still enter Schengen countries without a visa, but they will need to get an ETIAS travel permission before they go. The official ETIAS website contains a complete list of the nations that qualify.
Difference between Schengen Visa and ETIAS
A visa is not the same thing as ETIAS. There is no requirement to apply at a consulate, provide biometric data, or supply as much information as needed for a visa application, making the authorisation process easier and more user-friendly. The majority of ETIAS applications should be processed within five minutes.
Process for Applying for ETIAS
- Fill out a form for an online application: A legitimate travel document (passport or equivalent) is required to complete the form, which should take around 10 minutes.
- Pay the €7 application fee (for applicants between 18 and 70): Electronic payment systems will consider technological advancements in visa-free nations to accommodate various payment choices.
- Obtain travel permission: Most candidates (over 95%) will automatically be approved after payment. In some circumstances, manual processing may be necessary, extending the response time by up to 96 hours or, in certain circumstances, up to four weeks.
Validity and Timeframe
The accompanying travel document’s expiration date or three years, whichever comes first, determines the validity of the ETIAS travel permission. Multiple entrances are permitted into the Schengen area for stays of up to 90 days throughout a 180-day period.
When a traveller receives a new travel document, or their present ETIAS authorisation expires, they must apply for a new one.
Other Travel Authorisations vs ETIAS
ETIAS, which applies to the Schengen area, is comparable to the US Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Both approaches seek to increase security and streamline entry procedures for visitors without a visa.
Crossing the Border with an ETIAS
At a border crossing in the Schengen region, border officers will electronically read the data from the travel documents and verify the ETIAS authorisation. Travellers can enter the Schengen area if all entry conditions are satisfied.
Before boarding, carriers carrying groups by coach overland, air, or sea must confirm that passengers have a current ETIAS travel permit. Overland bus companies are free from this rule for a brief term.
What to expect going forward
There is currently an assembled list of countries that will benefit from the new ETIAS model, which you can see here. More are expected to be added as time goes on. A full account of the current ETIAS process can also be found here.
The plan is for an ETIAS VISA waiver document to be eligible for 3 years and to allow to travel of up to 90 days to any Schengen member country. It also allows travel as many times as desired within this 3 year period. This means you won’t have to re-apply whenever you want to travel to the desired countries. This is very similar to the ESTA VISA waiver for the USA presently.
It will be as simple as filling in a 10-minute form online, and then you will be approved soon after. Expect this system to make travel to Europe easier in the future, starting in 2023.