Countries Eligible for the ETIAS Visa Waiver Program
The EU proposal for ETIAS suggests that there will be sixty countries eligible to submit an ETIAS visa application online. The ETIAS is a travel permit for business or tourist reasons, and will not replace a student or working visa. Any ETIAS eligible citizen, who wants to visit, study, live, or remain in Europe for more than 90 days, will need to apply for another type of visa. The ETIAS eligible states will be required to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver as of January 2021. Applicants are required to meet the ETIAS prerequisites to receive the visa waiver.
ETIAS eligible states include:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Timor Leste
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United States of America
Why a European travel authorization?
The ETIAS authorization program was formed to increase the security of the zone. Screening visitors before they visit the Schengen zone will help the authorities to determine potential security threats and prevent them from entering the Schengen zone. The European Union adopted the ETIAS in 2016. It is part of an effort to increase border control as a reply to the increasing number of criminal and terrorist attacks across European countries.
What will passengers require to get an ETIAS visa waiver?
Visitors to the European Union states will need to have an ETIAS permit by filling the application online. It will only take about 20 minutes to complete and it will be simple. There will also be a payable fee via credit or debit card. Applicants will need to have to answer all of the online questions on the form. The required information will include full name, date of birth, address, travel needs and passport information. There will also be health and security-based questions. All the information will be screened across EU security databases before the application is either approved or rejected. The majority of online applications will be accepted fast if the applicants meet the basic visa prerequisites which include having a passport from one of the eligible states.
What databases will be checked by ETIAS?
When processing and verifying the details submitted by visa-free passengers, the system will cross-check each application against:
- the existing EU security systems:
- the Schengen Information System (SIS),
- the Visa Information System (VIS),
- Europol data,
- the Eurodac database,
- the Entry/Exit System (EES),
- an ETIAS watchlist and specific risk indicators.
The ETIAS will be valid for a short period and for also business or leisure reasons. Those who wish to study and live in Europe will be required to apply for a different visa. Once confirmed, an ETIAS can be used for 3 years or until the expiration date of the passport, whichever comes first. It is important is that the applicant has a passport valid for at least 3 months upon entry to the Schengen zone. Without this, the application will not be approved.
Can the ETIAS visa waiver be used to study in Europe?
The ETIAS authorization allows travelers to stay up to 90 days within the Schengen zone for tourism, leisure or business. Once the ETIAS visa-waiver is granted, passengers will be able to travel to all the member countries many times within this period. This means that passengers with ETIAS permit who wants to participate in a seminar, summit, or conference with a maximum time of 90 days in one of the member countries, can do so without having to receive a student visa. Furthermore, the ETIAS visa waiver for Europe will be the first step for students who want to further their studies but have not decided which university to get a degree from. Since it permits multiple visits to different EU countries, passengers will be able to travel to many universities in the Schengen zone to identify which one fits their needs best.