European Travel Information Authorization System

What is ETIAS?

ETIAS comes from the “European Travel Information and Authorization System”. It is a fully electronic system that tracks visitors from countries that do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area. In a way, it looks like the United States Electronic Travel Authorization System (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose.

The ETIAS system will carry out a detailed security check of each candidate to determine if they can be authorized to enter a country in the Schengen area. Since citizens of countries that are eligible for a visa at arrival, do not need to go through a lengthy visa application process, the ETIAS system ensures that these people do not pose a security threat. You can get more info on how to apply for an ETIAS on our dedicated page.

As Europe is composed of many different countries, some people still ask themselves if they will be able to travel freely all over Europe with the ETIAS, and the answer is yes, because ETIAS will apply to the Schengen Area.

The reason why the European Union implemented ETIAS?

Currently, there are a significant number of countries whose citizens are allowed to enter the EU without the need for a visa. ETIAS is intended to protect the external borders of the EU; the ETIAS will allow the authorities to identify the people likely to present a risk, even before their arrival. The system will also contribute to strengthening internal security, preventing illegal immigration and finally reducing waiting times at borders. Travelers who are not obliged to present a visa can be checked in time. As from 2021, a valid ETIAS will be required to travel to Europe.

When will ETIAS be operational?

ETIAS is anticipated to be completely operational by January 2021. When the system is in place, nationals of 62 visa-exempt countries will need to have a valid ETIAS to visit the Schengen area.

What are the countries eligible for it?

Not all countries can apply for ETIAS. There are about 60 countries that are eligible for ETIAS. The system will check security credentials and charge fees to travelers visiting EU member countries for commercial, tourist, medical or transit purposes. The visa application procedure and the EU control procedures for entering the Schengen area depend only on the nationality of the visitor. Some of the countries eligible are the united state of America, Ukraine, Canada, Mexico, Chile and many more.

● Brexit and ETIAS:The United Kingdom is still being a member of the EU. British citizens will not require ETIAS to enter EU countries. The European Union Commission confirms that British citizens will not require ETIAS as it remains part of the EU.

● Will US citizens need an ETIAS? At the moment, American citizens do not need a tourist visa for Europe. US citizens can travel to Europe for tourism or short-term stays without having to obtain a visa. The possibility to travel freely on the European continent will change with the introduction of the ETIAS in 2021. Like citizens of other eligible countries, American citizens will need to obtain an ETIAS travel authorization before to go to the Schengen area.

How much will it cost?

On its official website, the EU explains that ETIAS “will be an automated IT system”. This means that travelers will make their request online. We don’t know yet where to apply for ETIAS because the official website is not live, but this will be revealed in 2021. The ETIAS fee is of 7 euros, and will get “in more than 95% of cases a positive response in a few minutes”. The request will be processed automatically after a search in a database. In 5% of cases, according to the EU, the request may require manual verification, which will extend the time.

Is ETIAS a Visa?

The European union specifies on its site that “ETIAS travel authorization is not a visa”. This formality, which is part of a visa waiver program, differs from the latter in several points.

The answer will generally be obtained in a few minutes, while for a visa it can take 15 to 30 days. Also, the traveler will complete the process online, without having to surrender their passport to a consulate or embassy, ​​as is the case for visa applications.

How does it work?

The ETIAS exemption is designed to be a specific requirement for those who do not need a visa to travel to Europe. A tourist visa for Europe must be obtained from a consulate or embassy and applicants often have to provide additional documents, in addition to their passport. In the meantime, the ETIAS visa waiver will be easy to obtain. The applicant will simply be required to complete the ETIAS online application with their data and passport.