Europe is one of the most visited continents in the world, but travelling there can be confusing. Trying to navigate the rules between what is the European Union, how long you can stay in the Schengen zone and how the new ETIAS visa waiver works can be a challenge.
Fortunately, all these rules are pretty straightforward, and you don’t have to give up your dream vacation just yet. With enough planning and understanding of the rules, your next trip to Europe will be a breeze. To help you get your head around these rules, I wrote this post to help you understand the upcoming changes for travel to Europe and how they will affect you.
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What is the ETIAS visa waiver?
ETIAS (Europe Travel Information and Authorization System) was created to improve the safety of the EU for locals and visitors in response to terrorist attacks in Europe in 2016. The program was originally expected to roll out in 2021, but was later delayed. It is now scheduled to roll out by the end of 2023.
The ETIAS visa waiver is a new measure that will soon be implemented by the European Union. It is designed to streamline travelling to Europe for citizens of non-EU and visa-exempt countries. While it is an electronic travel authorization, it’s not a visa for the Schengen Area.
The ETIAS visa waiver, much like the ESTA one for the US and the eTA for Canada, authorizes travel for business or tourism purposes. It is not a substitute for a student or working visa. You’ll have to provide basic information, including name, place of birth, nationality and passport number, to apply.
Not sure if it applies to you? Try the ETIAS eligibility checker to find out.
When travelling on an ETIAS visa, you can stay in any Schengen Area country for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Additionally, you are not permitted to take paid employment during your stay. To stay longer than 90 days or if you want to participate in activities requiring a work permit, you must obtain a visa from the appropriate embassy or consulate.
It is also important to note that ETIAS does not guarantee entry into any Schengen Area countries. Entry can still be refused for various reasons, such as false documentation, criminal records or security risks.
To apply, you’ll need a valid passport (must be valid for at least 3 months after your return date), email address for delivery and credit/debit card for payment. On the form, you’ll be asked to provide general information, including:
- name (first, middle, last)
- maiden name (if applicable)
- date and place of birth
How to apply
Applying for an ETIAS visa is relatively straightforward. You will need to complete an online form with basic information, such as your name, contact info and passport information. There is also a fee of €7 for individuals 18-70 to complete the process. There is no application fee for minors and those over 70.
Once you’ve completed the online form, the form is then processed and verified by the European authorities. It can take anywhere between a few minutes to a few days. You’ll receive an email notification once it has been approved. In some cases, your application can take up to four weeks, and you might be asked to provide additional information.
Documents you’ll need when travelling
When travelling with an ETIAS visa, you will need to carry two documents with you at all times: your passport and your ETIAS authorization. Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after the intended travel date, and it must contain the same information as is on your application form. Your ETIAS authorization must also be presented when entering any country within the Schengen Area.
In addition, you may need to provide additional documents, such as proof of accommodation and travel insurance, when requested by border control officials.