We’ve all dreamed of great European holidays, haven’t we? Whether you’re spending a week in Barcelona, visiting Sardinia in Italy, or eating our way through Paris – there are many European travel dreams out there.
Citizens of nearly 60 countries, including the United States, who can travel visa-free in Europe soon will need to submit an ETIAS application online before entering any Schengen country.
It’s not as complicated as it seems although it only includes a few extra steps to add to your travel planning routine. We’ve covered everything you need to know about applying for ETIAS for your next trip to Europe below.
What is the ETIAS system?
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System and requires non-EU citizens seeking visa-free travel to any of the 26 countries in the Schengen Area to register online and obtain approval before they are allowed to board aircraft into the area. It is a fully electronic system that allows entry and tracking of visitors from countries that do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area.
It is similar to the ESTA (Electronic System for United States Travel Authorization) system, which many travelers need to complete to enter the United States. ETIAS aims to reduce the risks of crime and terrorism in Europe and facilitate border procedures for visitors.
When will ETIAS become effective?
ETIAS was initially scheduled to become operational from January 2021, but is now expected to be operational by the end of 2022, with transitional measures planned for a smooth introduction.
List of ETIAS countries
Countries that require ETIAS entry include all countries within the Schengen Area.
The Schengen area includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia. Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Who will need ETIAS?
ETIAS is aimed at citizens of countries that can enter the European Union without a visa. This includes 62 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Hong Kong, etc. You can check if you need ETIAS here.
How does ETIAS work?
The ETIAS system will be efficient and straightforward to use, ultimately saving time for applicants and processing.
An ETIAS application can be submitted in three steps:
- Complete an online ETIAS application: It takes about 10 minutes to complete and includes biometric information, citizenship, address and contact details, the EU country you are visiting, background questions and eligibility.
- Pay the ETIAS fee and submit the form: When you complete the application, you will have to pay the fee and submit it. The system will process your information and approve your request.
- Receive visa exemption via email: In addition to being sent via email, the approved ETIAS visa waiver is electronically linked to the applicant’s passport.
As you apply, the system will automatically process your identity, travel documents and answers to essential questions against its databases (SIS, VIS, EUROPOL DATA, SLTD & TDAWN (Interpol), EURODAC, etc.), its screening rules and watch list.
ETIAS is valid for three years or until the expiry of the passport registered at the time of application, whichever comes first.
Case in point: Venezuelans traveling to France
Since Venezuela is part of the European Visa Waiver Program, travelers must complete an ETIAS application before traveling to Europe.
Once ETIAS becomes mandatory, Venezuelan passport holders will apply for an ETIAS for France (which is within the Schengen area) prior to departure. With the approved ETIAS visa exemption, Venezuelan passport holders will be able to spend up to 90 days in France.
Here is an example of obtaining ETIAS for Venezuelans to travel to France:
- In the online ETIAS for Venezuela to travel to France, Venezuelans require the following documents:
- Venezuelan passport: This must be valid for at least three months from the date of entry
- Debit or credit card: This is required to pay the ETIAS fee for France
- your current email address: The approved visa waiver will be sent to your e-mail box
- While completing the online ETIAS form, you will need the following information on hand:
- Full name as it appears on the passport
- Contact details including current residential address and email address
- Passport information such as number and expiration date
How much does ETIAS cost?
It is planned that ETIAS will cost only €7 per order for adults over 18 years old. Passengers under the age of 18 will not have to pay any fees.
Enjoy visa-free travel to Europe
For members of over 60 countries that do not require a visa to enter Europe, don’t let the ETIAS application process intimidate you. It is simply a 10 minute online application that is very simple and effective!