Preamble

In November 2016, the European Commission proposes to create a system to enhance the security of travel in the Schengen area under visa-free agreements. This system will carry out a pre-travel check for security and migration risks of visa-free visitors. This will help to identify any possible security problems before their travel to the Schengen area, thus contributing to a more efficient management of the European Union's external borders and improved internal security. For example, beginning in 2022, the European Commission will deploy a U.S.-style electronic travel authorization system for visitors from countries that are currently not part of the European Union. The EU wants to optimize border security and control the entry and exit of travelers automatically. Screening travelers before they enter the Schengen area will allow authorities to identify potential security problems and avoid bringing them into the EURO zone. The system is part of an effort to control border management in response to the growing number of terrorist attacks in Europe's major municipalities. ETIAS will protect visitors to the Schengen area as well as European citizens and residents.

What is the ETIAS visa?

ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is a form of electronic travel authorization. In light of the recent increased security risk for European Union citizens and those traveling to the Schengen area, the European Union has decided to implement ETIAS to ensure the security of all those within its borders. For this reason, visitors to the Schengen area will be required to obtain an ETIAS travel authorization prior to their trip. The European Union has started the legal procedures for the introduction of ETIAS in 2016, but it will only enter into force at the end of 2022. In order to obtain an ETIAS travel authorization, it will be necessary to fill out a simple online application form. By cross-checking the information with various databases, ETIAS will be able to detect whether a person poses a threat to the security of one of the Schengen countries. The European Travel Information and Authorization System will be digitized for faster searching of traveler profiles. Third-country nationals who do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for a travel authorization via the ETIAS system before their trip. The information collected via ETIAS will allow, in full respect of fundamental rights and data protection principles, a prior verification of potential security, high-risk irregular migration and epidemics. It will be checked with travel documents by border guards when crossing the border of the European Union. This prior verification of visa-free third country nationals will facilitate border controls; and significantly reduce the number of refusals of entry at border crossing points. Tourists and business travelers will be required to have an approved ETIAS when travelling to any part of the Schengen area. Travelers from the states concerned will receive information in advance, which will facilitate legal travel across the Schengen borders. The ETIAS Regulation provides for transitional measures to ensure a smooth deployment of the system. Once approved, an ETIAS travel authorization can be used for three consecutive years or until the expiry of the passport, whichever comes first.

Which countries are covered by the ETIAS visa for Europe?

There are currently 60 countries that will have to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver pending the addition of other nationalities to the list in the near future. The Schengen Europe visa will still be required for citizens of non-eligible countries who want to enter the region once ETIAS is implemented. There are also different types of visas available for citizens who wish to study or work in Europe, as ETIAS is not a visa and is not designed for these purposes. Specifically, there are currently 60 countries whose citizens are not in the EU, but can travel without a visa for up to 90 days for purposes other than working or studying and who are allowed to visit as tourists or for commercial purposes if they apply. These countries are :

  • Albania
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Barbados
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • El Salvador
  • Georgia
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • China
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Macau
  • Macedonia
  • Malaysia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • The Palau
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • The Saint Vincent
  • Samoa
  • Serbia
  • The Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Timor Leste
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela

How does it work?

The ETIAS online application process has been designed to be simple and hassle-free, and there is no need to visit an embassy or consulate. The application process is immediate and can be done online. It takes only 10 minutes and costs approximately €7 except for applicants under 18 years old who will not pay. For group trips, everyone will need an individual authorization in order to travel. Once the application has been submitted, the ETIAS application system:

Verifies the information provided by the applicants before they travel to the external borders of the European Union. Basic information of third country nationals without a visa will be collected, such as identity, permanent residence address, contact details (e-mails and phone numbers). On the basis of the information provided, it will assess whether an applicant will pose a risk to the European Community in terms of migration, security or public health.

Processes automatically using the information from the application to check with various information systems of the European Union and also with an ETIAS watch list. It will determine whether permission to enter Europe can be granted or refused.

Issuing or refusing the authorization. If approved, the applicant will receive the ETIAS authorization directly by e-mail. In case of refusal, an email with the reasons for the refusal will be sent.

It is strongly recommended to start requesting an ETIAS at least 72 hours (3 days) before your departure. Although the authorization is linked to your passport, it is advisable to bring your ETIAS authorization email to the airport to avoid being denied boarding. The validity of the ETIAS visa application is strictly linked to the validity of the passport used to complete the application. The ETIAS authorization can be revoked and cancelled if the conditions of its issuance no longer apply. Therefore, it is recommended to check the status of your ETIAS application a few days before your departure date. Among other ETIAS visa exemption requirements, applicants will be required to provide the following information:

  • Personal Details
  • Passport Information
  • Date of Birth
  • Country of birth
  • Country of residence
  • Parents' Names

Applicants applying for ETIAS will be required to provide medical certificate information in case they have had to travel to countries in conflict or areas affected by contagious diseases or epidemics.

When will the ETIAS visa come into force and become mandatory?

ETIAS will be launched towards the end of 2022 but it will not be mandatory until 2023. A 6 month grace period is provided to allow eligible travelers to familiarize themselves with the new regulations. According to the agreement reached by the European Parliament, after the implementation date of ETIAS, the system will pre-screen travellers from visa-free countries to identify security and migration risks. When arriving at the border of one of the Schengen area countries. Third country nationals will be required to have a valid visa waiver and travel document. The ETIAS application process should be simple and efficient. From the start date of ETIAS 2022, travelers will be able to complete an online application form in approximately 10 minutes. The European Border and Coast Guard is in charge of the ETIAS visa in cooperation with Europol and other Member State authorities. Possession of an ETIAS does not guarantee the holder's entry into the European Union, as the decision to grant or deny entry is taken by national border guards through a face-to-face screening process at the port of entry. The European Travel Information and Authorisation System is an automated system that will carry out prior checks to determine whether to grant or refuse an application for access in the states concerned.