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ETIAS and European travel from 2022

The European Union is introducing a new visa waiver for visitors from outside the EU. ETIAS, a new travel authorization, will be launched at the end of 2022 and become a mandatory entry requirement soon after.

ETIAS, however, is not a visa. Passport holders from more than 60 countries, including several Asian nations, can currently travel to the European Schengen Area without a visa and this isn’t about to change. Travelers will maintain visa-free access but will be required to register with ETIAS before heading to Europe.

Read on to find out more about the new ETIAS visa waiver including how it works, the ETIAS application, and which countries you can visit with the electronic travel authorization.

What is the ETIAS visa waiver for Europe?

The new ETIAS visa waiver system allows European authorities to prescreen visitors arriving from outside the EU. Foreigners with visa-free access can currently cross an external Schengen border using just a valid passport.

Whilst this is convenient for travelers who can avoid lengthy visa applications, the current procedure has not been able to provide the highest levels of security desired by European nations.

ETIAS is therefore being developed to bridge the information gap, providing a means of identifying potential security threats before they reach European soil.

How does ETIAS work?

ETIAS works by checking traveler’s data against international security databases: Interpol, Europol, and the Schengen Information System are all consulted, among others. During the application process, travelers are asked to provide personal and passport information which is automatically run through the ETIAS system.

In the majority of cases, nothing will be flagged up and the visa waiver will be approved in minutes.

If there is a hit in one of the systems, the request goes on to be reviewed manually by the ETIAS Central and National Units before a decision is reached. In the rare case that an ETIAS visa waiver is denied, the applicant will have the right to appeal.

It’s worth noting that ETIAS is concerned about serious crime, in particular terrorist threats. Travelers with a criminal record for a minor offense should not be deterred from applying.

ETIAS will also be used to protect public health. As seen with the current coronavirus pandemic, international travel helps infectious diseases spread quickly, health-related questions on the ETIAS application form will help the European Union stop viruses and other illnesses crossing the border.

The ETIAS online application

Once ETIAS becomes available, the application process will be fully online. Eligible travelers will be able to fill in the application form from the comfort of their own home, there’s no need to visit an embassy or consulate. A valid passport, email address, and debit or credit card to pay the ETIAS fees are all that is required.

All personal details must be entered exactly as they appear on the passport, any discrepancies could lead to delays and disrupted travel plans.

On approval, the ETIAS visa waiver is linked to the electronic chip inside the passport. For this reason, anyone with dual nationality must apply for ETIAS and travel to Europe using the same passport. For the same reason, a new ETIAS visa waiver needs to be applied for as soon as the passport expires.

Which countries require ETIAS?

ETIAS will be required to cross an external Schengen border. There are 26 countries in the Schengen Area, including some of the world’s most popular holiday destinations. Italy, Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands are just a few of the countries covered by ETIAS.

The great news for travelers is that, as there are no internal borders in the Schengen Area, once over the external frontier, ETIAS holders can use the same permit to explore all 26 countries that make up the travel zone. There are no checkpoints between EU Schengen nations however foreigners should keep their passport and attached visa waiver on their person as they travel.

How long can I spend in Europe with an ETIAS visa waiver?

With an ETIAS visa waiver, travelers can stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days per 180-day period. The permit is multiple-entry meaning it can be used for repeated trips to Europe, provided it does not exceed the 90-day limit. ETIAS is valid for tourism, business, and transit purposes.

An ETIAS visa waiver remains valid for 3 years from the date of issue. It’s not necessary to reapply unless the passport expires, in this case, a new visa waiver must be obtained. An ETIAS visa waiver may, however, be revoked if the requirements are no longer met.

The ETIAS visa waiver will be verified when the passport is scanned at the airport. Travelers are reminded that obtaining the travel authorization is the first step to gaining access to the Schengen Area, the final decision on whether or not to admit a passenger lies with border officials.

Once ETIAS is up and running, travelers will be able to enjoy European travel with greater peace of mind than ever before.

This sponsored content brought to you by ETIAS Visa. Visit their website here.