What is the ETIAS and Why Do You Need One?

Whether it’s to a sunny destination with azure waters, a cultured city break strolling through museums, or trying new dishes on a foodie retreat, one of life’s greatest joys is taking a holiday. 

One of the most popular destinations on everybody’s wishlist is Europe. With stunning sights like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France; the dreamy canals in Venice, Italy; and beautiful fjords in Norway, it’s no wonder why everybody wants to visit!

However, starting in 2022, the European Union will require travelers from more than 60 countries to have an ETIAS visa waiver if they wish to travel to any of the 27 EU member countries.

Fortunately, the ETIAS is simple and easy to apply for, and is granted for 3 years. Here is everything you need to know about the ETIAS, including which countries need one and what it does.

Which Countries Require an ETIAS to Enter?

The European Travel Information and Authorization System, better known as the ETIAS for short, is a visa waiver system that allows travelers to enter the Schengen Zone countries.

There are 29 countries that will need the ETIAS in order to enter. They include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, San Marino, and Vatican City.

Best of all, once a traveler has their ETIAS, they are able to seamlessly cross borders between member states — without the need to re-apply for an ETIAS every time.

This opens up a world of possibilities, such as doing a cross-country roadtrip through Europe or exploring new cities that are off the beaten path!

Which Nationalities Will Need to Obtain the ETIAS?

There are more than 60 countries whose citizens will need to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver.

Some of the most popular countries include Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Since the ETIAS will be put into place at the end of 2022, it is very possible that more countries will be added to the list in the future by the European Commission.

What is the ETIAS?

The question on everybody’s mind is, what does the ETIAS actually mean and how does it work?

The ETIAS is an electronic visa waiver that determines the eligibility of visitors to enter participating European countries for tourism, business, transit, or medical purposes. It is digitally ‘attached’ to a traveler’s passport and is applied for online.

The ETIAS was originally created by the European Commission in 2016 as a new and improved way to boost security for both locals and visitors of the Schengen Zone countries.

The ETIAS application form takes about 15 minutes to complete for most travelers and asks basic questions such as the applicant’s full name, contact information, passport details (such as serial number and issue/expiration date), and a few yes/no questions. 

Likewise, there are only three things needed in order to apply for an ETIAS: a valid passport with at least 3 months’ validity, a form of payment (such as a credit or debit card) to pay the processing fee, and an email address where the applicant will receive their approved ETIAS.

The ETIAS works by checking the information that was provided on the application form against a number of special EU databases, like Interpol and Europol, to determine whether the traveler is eligible to enter or not.

In most cases, the ETIAS is approved almost instantly. This is great for busy travelers who want to make sure that everything is organized and ready before their trip — which means no need to wait or go to the nearest embassy!

Benefits of the ETIAS?

Besides gaining access to 29 European countries, there are plenty of other benefits to obtaining an ETIAS.

One of the best things about the ETIAS is that it is valid for 3 years from the date of issue or until the holder’s passport expires (whichever comes first).

Travelers are permitted to stay in the 29 ETIAS-specific countries for a maximum of 90 days within a 180 day period, which is plenty of time to explore.

Finally, thanks to the ETIAS, travelers will save time and breeze through immigration control because they are already pre-screened. There’s no need to wait hours in line when you could be strolling through the streets of Paris!

Image by Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay

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