Everything you need to Know about European Travel Information and Authorization System [ETIAS]

What is ETIAS?

ETIAS is a visa waiver pre-screening program for visa-exempt visitors who may want to visit the European Union starting from January 1, 2021. It is similar to the US ESTA. The automated IT system can identify any risk associated with a visa exempt visitor who is travelling to the Schengen.

The European Union proposed the establishment of ETIAS in June 2017 as a measure to prevent future attack and immigration flows which it has been facing for the last few years. On May 25, 2018, the EU ambassadors confirmed that the Council Presidency and the European Parliament representatives reached an agreement to establish ETIAS.

How will it benefit the European Union?

The main reason for the formation of ETIAS is to strengthen the external border control and enhance security within these borders. Once the program kicks off, the EU member will be able to:

  1. Make advance checks to those who wish to enter the territory
  2. Improve the internal security of the territory of each member state
  3. Deny travel authorization, if necessary to visa-exempt third-country nationals travelling to Schengen if they seem like a threat to the EU.
  4. Prevent illegal immigration
  5. To limit public health risks and reduce delays at the borders.

Who will ETIAS affect?

Every traveler who plans to travel to the European Schengen zone from 2021 onwards [unless they are from exempted countries] will need to obtain an ETIAS visa. It will be a legal requirement for you to enter Schengen countries.

Who needs ETIAS?

The estimated number of people expected to enter Europe each year with an ETIAS starting from 2021 is 30 million. Currently, there are 60 countries who have agreed on visa-free travel with the European Union, the residents of which are permitted to enter the Schengen Zone without the need to get a visa.

These agreements only permit the citizens of third-world countries to stay in the Schengen area for 90 days within six months. They are also not allowed to work. This is also one of the reasons that EU has establishes ETIAS; to prevent people from overstaying and working illegally, and to stop people with criminal records from entering the area.

How long will ETIAS visa last?

The ETIAS visa will last three years or until the holder’s passport expires [whichever happens first].

Do minors need ETIAS?

No, only adults [18 years and above] need to obtain an ETIAS.

ETIAS application process

Though nobody will be able to obtain an ETIAS before January 1, 2021, the ETIAS application is already known. The following are some of the steps to follow when you want to obtain this travel authorization.

  • You must be eligible for an ETIAS

You should be a resident of the exempted countries, and if not, then you need apply for a normal visa.

  • Start online application

Make sure that your account has the 7 euros which are the fee paid to get the ETIAS application processed. The internet connection must be strong.

  • Complete online application form

You will need to fill accurate information about you on the application form for you to be considered for ETIAS. The information includes name, date of birth, place of birth, sex, passport details, nationality details, etc.

  • Make sure that your passport is valid

When applying for the ETIAS, make sure that your passport has the necessary validity as set by the EU council rules on ETIAS.

Image courtesy of europarl.europa.eu