ETIAS Guide to Visa-Free Travel in Europe
We’ve all dreamed of glorious European vacations, right? Whether it’s spending a week in Barcelona, visiting Sardinia in Italy or eating our way through Paris – there are many European travel dreams.
Citizens of roughly 60 countries, including the US, who can travel visa-free in Europe will soon need to make an ETIAS application electronically before entering any Schengen country.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds though and merely involves a few extra steps to add to your travel planning routine. We’ve covered everything that you need to know about applying for ETIAS for your upcoming trip to Europe below.
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS stands for the European Travel Information and Authorization System and requires non-European Union citizens seeking visa-free travel to any of 26 nations in the Schengen area to register online and gain approval before being allowed to board planes to the region. It is an entirely electronic system that allows entry and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone.
It’s similar to ESTA (United States’ Electronic System for Travel Authorization), which many travelers need to complete to enter the US. ETIAS aims to lower crime and terrorism risks in Europe and to ease border procedures for visitors.
When will ETIAS take effect?
ETIAS was initially scheduled to take effect from January 2021 but is now expected to become operational by the end of 2022, with transitional measures planned for a smooth introduction.
A list of the ETIAS countries
Countries that require an ETIAS to enter include all countries within the Schengen zone.
The Schengen zone encompasses Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Who will need ETIAS?
ETIAS targets citizens of countries who can enter the EU zone visa-free. This includes 62 countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Hong Kong, etc. You can check if you require an ETIAS here.
How does the ETIAS system work?
The ETIAS system will be efficient and straightforward to use, ultimately saving time for applicants and processing.
The ETIAS application can be made in three steps:
- Complete the online ETIAS application: It takes about 10 minutes to complete and includes biometric information, citizenship, address, contact details, EU country you’re visiting and background and eligibility questions.
- Pay the ETIAS fees 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 application.
- Receive the visa waiver by email: In addition to being sent via email, the approved ETIAS visa waiver is linked electronically to the applicant’s passport.
During your application, the system will automatically process your identity, travel documents and answers to background questions against databases (SIS, VIS, EUROPOL DATA, SLTD & TDAWN (Interpol), EURODAC, etc.) and its screening rules and watchlist.
ETIAS are valid for three years or until the end of validity of the passport registered during the application, whichever comes first.
An example: Venezuelans traveling to France
Since Venezuela is part of the European Visa-Exempt 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 zone) before departure. With an approved ETIAS visa waiver, Venezuelan passport holders will be able to spend up to 90 days in France.
Here’s an example of getting an ETIAS for Venezuelans to travel to France:
- In the online ETIAS for Venezuela to travel to France application, Venezuelans require the following documents:
- Venezuela 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 for France fees
- Current email address: the approved visa waiver will be sent to the email inbox
- While completing the ETIAS online form, you’ll need the below information on hand:
- Full name as it appears on the passport
- Contact details including current residential address and email address
- Passport information such as the number and expiry date
How much does ETIAS cost?
It is planned for ETIAS to only cost €7 for each application for adults over 18 years. Travelers under 18 will not have to pay any fees.
Enjoy visa-free travel to Europe
For members of the 60+ countries that don’t require a visa to enter Europe, don’t let the ETIAS application process scare you away. It’s simply a 10-minute online application that is super simple and efficient!