European travel information and Authorization system or ETIAS, is an electronic verification to screen and allow visa-free travelers to enter the Schengen region. The ETIAS visa differs from the Schengen visa, the former being an online application, while applicants have to submit the latter at a member state embassy. The ETIAS is a replica of the USAs ESTA and the Canadian ETA model, which serves a similar purpose.
The European Commission proposed the ETIAS in 2016 and will finally launch at the beginning of 2022. However, it will take effect only by the end of the same year. Once implemented, all visa applicants will have to pass through a detailed security check to determine if they can enter any Schengen country. The ETIAS aims to strengthen and boost border security by pre-screening visitors before allowing them to enter the Schengen zone.
Travelers have to apply for the visa in advance, before leaving for the destination country, to allow enough processing time. Once approved, visitors can travel and stay in 26 different countries throughout Europe for a maximum of 90-days within a duration of 180-days. The visa will have a three-year validity from the date of issue or the passport expiry, whichever comes first. While the European nationals do not need to apply for a visa, the ETIAS verification will ensure that they do not pose a security threat with their visit to the Schengen zone.
HOW WILL THE ETIAS SYSTEM WORK FOR EUROPEAN CITIZENS?
The ETIAS will be compulsory for all European citizens. It will facilitate travelers to visit for medical treatments, transit, tourism, and business travel in the Schengen area.
After the system comes into effect in 2022, eligible citizens will need an ETIAS visa waiver before visiting any Schengen member states. The online application is simple and takes only a few minutes to complete. The applicants have to enter information such as their name, date of birth, address, and other passport details and few questions regarding health and security to complete the online form.
This information will further help to screen them through relevant security databases. The majority of applications receive results within few minutes of application, though some may take longer. A processing fee of 7-euro must be paid by all, except for applicants under 18 years of age.
- Once submitted, the ETIAS will be used to verify the details of the online form. The applicant has to apply for a visa before boarding the flight.
- The ETIAS verification will confirm the details provided by the applicant, such as name, country of residence, and contact details.
- Applicants need to bring a valid passport issued by one of the visa-exempted countries.
- The ETIAS system will identify if an applicant poses a risk to the EU community regarding illegal immigration, high epidemic risk, and security risk to citizens and travelers.
- The automated processing system will verify the applicants details with various information systems such as Europol, Interpol, VIS, and the like. This information will determine the approval or rejection of the ETIAS visa.
- If approved, the applicant will receive a notification through email within a few minutes. In case of denial, the applicants will receive a message stating the reason.
Travelers should apply for an ETIAS visa at least 3-days before leaving for the destination country. Though the ETIAS visa will be electronically connected to the passport, visitors will require a print of the visa approval to be able to board their flight. The ETIAS visa is only valid for the passport which was used for completion of the online form. The authorization will be void if the conditions for issuing are no longer applicable. Hence, visitors should confirm their ETIAS application status few days before departure in case of any changes.
THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR ETIAS APPLICATION FOR EUROPE?
Visitors applying for an ETIAS visa need the following:
- A non-EU passport
- A credit or debit card to pay visa processing charges that cost 7-euros. Applicants less than 18 years of age do not have to pay the fee.
- The visitors personal information including, permanent resident, mailing address, and phone number.
ETIAS APPLICATION PROCESS FOR TRAVEL IN EUROPE
The ETIAS visa process involves an online application. Once submitted, the applications will pass through a screening process to determine if the applicant is eligible or not. The approvals will be received through a valid email address, in cases of denial, applicants will receive a message stating the reason for the refusal. Applicants have the option to reapply for the visa or appeal this decision.
WHY A EUROPEAN TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION?
In recent years, the EU has made headlines for its security - terrorist attacks and immigration scams. To cater to this and enhance border security, the European Commission has emerged with the approach to launch a travel authorization system or ETIAS. This system will strengthen the European border security through pre-screening travelers to identify potential threats and denying entrance to the region.
WHICH COUNTRIES IN EUROPE REQUIRED AN ETIAS ONLINE AUTHOTRIZATION?
- San Marino
- Czech Republic
- Vatican City