There are many countries that are not in the European Union (EU) whose citizens can enter the EU Schengen Zone without needing a visa. Specifically, there are currently 63 countries that are not in the EU but are visa-free.
Citizens of these countries are allowed to go into countries in the Schengen Zone for business or travel purposes for up to 90 days. During these 90 days, these visitors cannot work or study but can engage in business and tourism activities.
In addition, recent security concerns with terrorism and the migrant crisis have called for better management of who is entering EU borders. The EU has continuously declared its goal of making travelling within its borders a more secure experience.
To reduce procedures and wait times and address security concerns, the European Commission (EC) has come up with a solution – ETIAS.
This article will contain all the information you need regarding this new system and whether you qualify for it.
The current launch date for ETIAS is expected to be in 2024. More information on the implementation process will be posted here when it is available.
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a completely electronic system that allows and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. In a way, it resembles the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose.
Also, there should be no confusion that there are countries in the EU that are not members of the Schengen Zone, which the ETIAS authorization doesn’t prevent you from entering.
The legal procedures to pass the ETIAS started in 2016, and, after a number of postponements of the launch, the system is now expected to be fully operational in 2024.
The ETIAS will undergo a detailed security check of each applicant to determine whether they can be allowed to enter any Schengen Zone country. While citizens of countries who do not need a visa for travel purposes of up to 90 days in the EU do not need to go through a long process of applying for the visa, the ETIAS will make sure that these people are not a security threat. This travel authorization system will gather, keep track of, and update necessary information regarding visitors to determine whether it is safe for them to enter Schengen countries.
The ETIAS, besides being used for business and tourist purposes, will also allow people to visit the Schengen countries for medical and transit reasons. In addition, it will be mandatory for all countries that are Schengen visa-free.
In his 2016 State of the Union Address, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the following:
We need to know who is crossing our borders. This way we will know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here.
The main reason for the approval of the ETIAS authorization is security. With the increased risk of travellers worldwide, the EU wants to ensure safe travel in its countries. The ETIAS will decrease security concerns substantially through its information and data-gathering systems. This means that the ETIAS will detect if a person is a threat in any way to the security of Schengen countries. This will lead to the person being denied entry and avoiding the threat of being present inside EU borders. It will basically deal with a problem before it is even there.
However, besides making travelling more secure, the ETIAS authorization will also assist the EU countries and all travellers in the following ways:
All in all, the ETIAS authorization will make travelling to the EU less of a hassle and a much safer experience.
THE TRAVEL AUTHORISATION SYSTEM WILL:
These are the European countries that will require a valid ETIAS upon arrival at their borders:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
As mentioned, the ETIAS targets citizens of countries who can enter the EU visa-free zone . As such, there are 63 countries will need to get ETIAS authorization.
An ETIAS will be requrired for any person enteriing the EU visa-free zone by air, sea or in an organised coach party. This means:
The ETIAS system will be simple to use and save time for applicants and processing.
Those who want to get approval will have to follow these steps to apply for ETIAS:
The ETIAS application is expected to take about 10 minutes to fill out. It will be online, so you will not have to go through paperwork. Depending on your country of citizenship, it will present you with several fields to fill. You must give the following information:
When you complete the application, you must pay and submit the fee. The system will do the following:
You will be approved if what you filled out on the application form is correct and you are eligible and not risky for the ETIAS. This whole procedure is expected to be completed in only a few minutes.
However, the application will be manually processed if there is a hit from the ETIAS. The manual processing is expected to take about 96 hours (4 days), or a maximum of 2 weeks.
The ETIAS will not burden your finances a lot. It is planned to have the ETIAS cost only €7 for each application. This is only valid for adults over 18 years old, as those under 18 will not have to pay any fees. You can pay the fee by debit or credit card. Immediately after you complete the payment, the ETIAS authorization will start processing.
The European Union website has an FAQ page, which provides answers to questions that have been raised.
Tha page covers the following subject headings: