If you’re already planning your next European getaway, you need to prepare for ETIAS, the new travel permit to be introduced in 2022.
The visa liberalization policy of the EU means that citizens of visa-exempt countries can travel to Europe using just a valid passport, provided the stay does not exceed 90 days.
Although such freedom of movement has provided easy access to top European destinations such as France, Italy, and Spain, calls for increased security have led to the development of the EU ETIAS visa waiver.
Keep reading to find out how the system will work, how much ETIAS will cost, and what you need to do to apply.
What is The New ETIAS Travel Authorization?
ETIAS is a pre-authorization for non-EU nationals heading to the Schengen Area. The Schengen Area is a border-free travel zone made up of 26 countries, once you’ve crossed the external border you can move from country to country without facing further checkpoints.
This will continue to be the case once ETIAS has been launched. The difference is that to get across the external EU border, you’ll need the new travel authorization. Conveniently, it’ll be linked electronically to your passport meaning you don’t need to carry a paper permit with you as you travel.
How Will the ETIAS Visa Waiver for Europe Work?
So, how exactly will this new visa policy help to keep Europe safe? The aim of the system is to prevent cross-border crime and terrorism by pre-screening all non-EU visitors.
Before you head to Europe, you’ll need to complete the ETIAS application form online, providing some personal information and passport details as well as answering a handful of health and security related questions.
After submitting the request, the information you provided will be cross-checked against several international security databases including Europol, the Schengen Information System (SIS), and the Visa Information System (VIS).
These databases contain the details of individuals considered to be a risk to the public. The system will automatically check each traveler’s data to make sure their names don’t appear on any of the lists. In most cases there’ll be no hits and the ETIAS will be granted almost immediately.
If, on the other hand, something is flagged up during the auto process, the application will be reviewed manually by European authorities and a final decision will be made on whether or not to allow the applicant to enter Europe.
Only those considered a threat to the public will be denied entry, so don’t be deterred from applying if you do have a criminal record- each case is analyzed at on an individual basis.
How Much Does an ETIAS Cost?
The good news for travelers is that ETIAS is not a visa and is both easier and cheaper to obtain than most traditional visas.
ETIAS is alarge-scale IT system managed by eu-LISA, the ETIAS fee is set by the European authorities to cover the cost of processing the application.
Europe is not alone when it comes to charging a small fee for a travel authorization: ESTA also charges foreigners to enter the US.
It’s important to remember that ETIAS is valid for 3 years, is multiple-entry, and can be used across all 26 Schengen Area nations. For these reasons, the permit undoubtedly offers value for money.
The ETIAS fees are paid using a debit or credit card to finalize the process.
Who Needs an ETIAS Visa Waiver for Europe?
If you’re unsure whether or not you qualify for an ETIAS visa waiver, you can check the visa policy of the Schengen Area to find out. To be eligible you need to have a passport from one of the visa-exempt countries.
You can use ETIAS for tourism or business purposes and you also need to apply to transit through a Schengen Area airport en route to a non-EU destination. To stay in Europe for longer than 3 months, or for different reasons, you still need to apply for a visa, different types are available depending on the reason for travel.
Children also need an ETIAS for European travel, families with kids should be sure to register their little ones too.
Visiting Europe with ETIAS
As mentioned above, the ETIAS visa waiver will soon be required to travel to any of the countries in the European Schengen Area. There are 26 nations in the border-free travel zone, some of the most popular European destinations include France, Italy, and Spain.
Domestic flights connect all major European cities whilst high-speed trains also criss-cross the continent. Another good option is to hire a car and drive from one nation to another. The lack of border checkpoints makes this speedy and hassle-free, just be sure to have your passport with approved ETIAS with you at all times during your trip.
From world-famous monuments and galleries in Paris to the Spanish sunshine and sandy beaches, Europe has much to offer. With permission to stay up to 90 days, traveling with ETIAS is the perfect excuse for wider exploration.