ETIAS – European Travel Information and Authorisation System
ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) is an electronic system that manages the data of all the visa-free travellers who enter the borders of the European Union. ETIAS visa is an online application process, very similar to the ‘Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)’ which has been functioning in the United States since its launch in 2007.
Just like ESTA, ETIAS application is also an electronic system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to enter the EU. Further checks also ensures that the entry of a foreign national into the EU will not result in any security threat.
What is the need of ETIAS Visa?The tourism map of Europe is expanding day by day, and many foreign nationals from countries which are not in the European Union (EU) are regularly visiting the continent for tourism-related activities. It should be noted that citizens of 62 countries out of the European Union can enter the EU Schengen Zone without a visa.
Citizens of these countries can enter the EU Schengen Zone without a visa and can live there for a maximum of 90 days. During these 90 days, these foreign nationals can engage in tourist and business-related activities, but they are not supposed to work or study in the destination country.
However, in recent days, several concerns related to terrorism and migration have gripped the European Union, and it has compelled the EU nations to embrace a better management plan when it comes to tourism. Recently, the European Union had several times made it clear that one of their primary aims is to give a secure travelling experience to travellers who enter the Schengen zone EU borders.
In order to manage tourism-related activities in an efficient manner by saving time, as well as to address security concerns, EU has come up with a solution of ETIAS visa.
How ETIAS works?As ETIAS is all set to have its launch by 2021, a thorough security check will be conducted on each foreign national who wishes to enter the EU border.
As people from 62 exempt countries do not need visas, European Union is not interested to implement a visa-process in the future which may consume huge time. In order to tackle this issue, ETIAS application will make sure that details of the traveller will be collected and thus, it can be made sure that the foreign visitor is not a threat to any Schengen Zone country.
This electronic travel authorization system will also keep track and update all the information of the foreign traveller, and thus it can be assured that they will not pose any threat to the visiting country.
Special Note: It should be noted that ETIAS application is going to be compulsory for all foreign nationals from the visa-exempt 62 countries, no matter they are travelling for tourism or business needs. Travellers who visit Schengen Zone countries for medical and transit reasons should also undergo the ETIAS procedure.
In short, we can conclude that all the foreign nationals from countries who are not from Schengen visa-free countries would need to make ETIAS application for future EU travel.
Advantages of ETIAS visaAs mentioned earlier, the primary aim of introducing ETIAS application process is to ensure a safe and secure traveling experience. It should be noted that ETIAS will coordinate with major security databases of SIS, VIS, EUROPOL and Interpol, and it helps to filter criminals very easily.
Please fine below some of the key points which supports the implementation of ETIAS.
· When compared to applying a normal visa, ETIAS helps to save a lot of time.
· Implementation of ETIAS will help to manage European Union borders effectively.
· ETIAS will play a key role in reducing the spread of terrorism and crime activities that involves foreign nationals.
· This electronic travel authorization system helps to demolish illegal migration.
· May help to reinstate the visa liberalization policy of the European Union.
Disadvantages of ETIAS visaEven though the future implementation of ETIAS is receiving positive reviews from all corners, certain section of people believe that this electronic travel authorization system has its share of cons. Scroll down to read the cons associated with ETIAS.
· ETIAS will be valid only with one passport. So, if a traveller's passport expires before three year-validity of ETIAS, the foreign national will not be able to use the same ETIAS for the new passport.
· The unquestionable red tape factor is widely considered as another disadvantage. Until now, citizens of 62 countries can visit the EU Schengen zone without any paper works. However, with the introduction of ETIAS, the foreign national should do an online registration, and it may sometimes complicate the applicant.
· To complete the ETIAS application, the foreign national should be asked to pay a small amount as a fee using debit or credit card.
How to fill the ETIAS application form?Just like other visa waivers, ETIAS application form also demands the applicant to fill out basic details like full name, contact address, date of birth and passport number. Moreover, prospective travelers will be also asked to provide various other inputs that will be used to check the eligibility of the foreign national to enter EU border.
The foreign national should be asked to answer questions related to the subjects mentioned below.
· Drug abuse
· Terrorism and other violent activities
· Human trafficking
· Employment history
· Criminal history
· Previous travel records
Special note: If a minor is wants to visit EU, the legal guardian should apply for ETIAS visa. If a family member of a European Union citizen is planning for a visit, he or she should provide various details like proof of relationship, residence card etc along with other background information.
You should also submit the scanned copy of your passport to obtain ETIAS.
ETIAS and British citizensBritain is currently going through the Brexit procedures, and it is still unclear whether UK will leave European Union. If UK leaves European Union, then British citizens will be most likely asked to obtain ETIAS to enter countries in Schengen area.
List of foreign countries whose nationals need ETIAS“Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Holy See (Vatical City State), Honduras, Hong Kong S.A.R, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macao S.A.R, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Samoa, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Timor Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela.”
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
How long does it take to get ETIAS visa approval?If you have submitted the application form correctly, and if authorities consider you as a person who is eligible to enter Schengen zone in EU, then ETIAS will be approved within a few minutes. However, there are times when you receive a hit from the ETIAS, and during these times, the application will be processed manually. If your application is being processed manually, it may take at least 96 hours to get the green signal. Sometimes, this time period may get extended up to two weeks.
Should children need to pay the visa fee for ETIAS authorization?As per current updates, the most likely fee to apply for ETIAS will be €7 for each application. However, people under the age of 18 do not require to pay any fee, and they can apply for this electronic authorization free of cost.
Special note: Exemption from fee does not mean that infants and children are free from ETIAS. They should apply for this electronic authorization system just like any other foreigner, but there is no need to pay any fee.
For how many years the ETIAS is valid?ETIAS is valid for three years or until the end of the validity of the travel document submitted during the application process.
What should I do if my ETIAS application gets denied by authorities?If your application gets denied, authorities will inform you of the reason behind the denial. If you find the reason behind denial dissatisfactory, then you have the option to appeal the decision. You can also make necessary changes in the application and can submit again.
Is it possible for me to travel freely in the Schengen zone without subject to internal border control using ETIAS visa?Yes, you can travel freely across countries in the Schengen zone without being subject to internal border controls. It should be noted that authorities can conduct spot checks for ensuring security.
Travelers should also understand that you should enter the country in the sequence you have mentioned in the application form. For example, if you have mentioned in the application that Belgium will be the first country you are going to visit, then you should visit Belgium initially.
Can I obtain a Schengen visa and ETIAS visa at the same time?No, you cannot, obtaining a Schengen visa indicates that you are not the part of those 62 countries who can enter the EU border visa free. Citizens of these 62 countries are entitled to get ETIAS.
Are there any differences between Schengen area and European Union?Schengen zone comprises of almost all European Union countries and some countries like Norway and Switzerland which are not the part of EU. On the other hand, certain European Union members like Cyprus and Croatia are not part of the Schengen zone.