ETIAS Visa – European Travel Information and Authorisation System
In this article learn about what is ETIAS, How ETIAS works, who needs ETIAS visa including Americans or US citizens, Requirements, Application process, Why ETIAS, Advantages, Fees. ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System and it is an electronic authorization for citizens that are permitted to travel to the EU without a visa. It will allow immigration authorities to screen against potential security risks of people visiting the Schengen zone before they even get there, plus, it will be a way to track visitors who don’t need a visa. Currently, there are 62 countries whose nationals may enter and stay in any of the Schengen countries without a visa for a period of up to 90 days within a 180 day period for the purposes of tourism and business.
While visa-free travel to the Schengen zone helps visitors in that they do not have to go through a lengthy application process to obtain a visa, it does not help the immigration authorities to keep track of who is crossing borders and entering a particular European country. This, in turn, increases the chance of potential security threats.
In 2016, the European Commission put forward a way of identifying threats to countries within the Schengen area prior to people arriving.
The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, stated:
“We need to know who is crossing our borders. We will propose an automated system to determine who will be allowed to travel to Europe. This way we will know who is traveling to Europe before they even get here”
The ETIAS will gather information on all travelers who are traveling visa free to Europe and ensure that possible security concerns are identified prior to traveling to the Schengen area, contributing to more efficient management of the EU’s external borders and improving internal security and the security of EU citizens. ETIAS visa is an electronic authorization that allows visa-free nationals to board a carrier to travel to the Schengen Area.
Advantages of ETIAS
Who will need to apply for ETIAS visa?
If you are a national of the above-mentioned countries and are currently able to travel to a Schengen country without the need to obtain a visa, you will need to apply for an ETIAS prior to your travel dates.
With effect from January 2021, ETIAS will be compulsory for all non-EU travelers. This means that you will need to apply for an ETIAS before you enter any EU country for the purposes of tourism, business and also medical and transit reasons for up to 90 days.
This will also apply to EU Member States outside of the Schengen area, so if you wish to travel to Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria or Romania, you will need to obtain an ETIAS. In addition, there are 4 countries which are non-EU states but are part of the Schengen area, so if you wish to go to Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you will also need to apply for an ETIAS.
How ETIAS will work
You must apply for an ETIAS at least 3 days prior to your departure date. You will not be able to send your application by mail, it will all be done electronically.
Completing the application form
The online application will take as little as 10 minutes to complete. You will provide the following information:
- First name
- Last name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Contact details
- Education/work experience
- Passport information
- Which EU country you are planning on visiting first
- Travel and immigration history
- Details of criminal record (if any)
- For minors, the legal guardian must apply for ETIAS
- For family members of EU citizens from other countries, you must provide proof of relationship, residence card, and other background information
If you’re planning to obtain your flight reservation for visa without paying for the ticket, all you have to do is follow the 3 simple steps below:
- Visit the Visa Reservation website to choose the right package
- Submit the travel details and make the payment online
- Receive flight itinerary in email
Submitting the application
Once you have submitted your application, the system will:
- Verify the information – based on the information you have provided, your application will be assessed, in advance of your travel to the external borders of the EU, to see whether you will be a risk to the European Community in terms of migration, security or public health
- Process automatically – the information you have given will be cross-checked against various EU information systems such as SIS, VIS, Europol, Interpol, Eurodac etc., and also against an ETIAS watchlist. This will determine whether the authorization to enter Europe can be granted or refused
- Issue or refuse the authorization – if approved, you will receive the ETIAS authorization directly by email. In case of denial, an email with reasons for refusal will be sent
If there are no issues, the ETIAS will be approved and you will receive the approval by email within a few minutes. The ETIAS will be valid for travel to the Schengen area for 3 years or until your visa expires.
If any issues are flagged up from the databases and watchlists, your application will be manually processed by ETIAS Central and National units and it will take anything from 4 days to a maximum of 2 weeks for a decision to be made. If your ETIAS application is refused, you will be notified of the reason for refusal and you have the right to appeal the decision.
Please note, even if your application for an ETIAS is approved, this is still no guarantee of entry into the Schengen area. This will be the decision of the immigration staff who will review your status and check whether you have the correct travel authorization.
In addition, your authorization to travel will be checked when you board your flight, train or other modes of transport, so if you do not have the required ETIAS, you will not be allowed to travel.
REVOCATION OR ANNULMENT OF ETIAS TRAVEL AUTHORISATION
There will be a fee of €7.00 for ETIAS and this must be paid by credit or debit card at the time of application. The fee will be waived if you are under 18 years old and over 70 years old.
1) I am from the United States, do I need to apply for ETIAS?
Yes, with effect from January 2021, all non-EU citizens who currently enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen area will need to obtain an ETIAS prior to travel
2) What is the difference between a Schengen visa and ETIAS?
A Schengen visa is a visa that is required for all non-US citizens who are not eligible for visa-free travel. An ETIAS is not a visa but will allow the authorities to keep track of all those who are allowed to enter the Schengen area without a visa
3) Can I travel to any EU country with an ETIAS?
When you apply for an ETIAS, you will state which country you plan to go to first and you MUST enter that country otherwise you will be denied entry. After you visit the first country, you are then permitted to travel to any Schengen country for 90 days
4) How many times can I enter the EU with an ETIAS?
An ETIAS is valid for 3 years, or until your passport expires, so you can enter the EU as many times as you like within this period
5) Do I need to provide biometric data when I apply for an ETIAS?
No, there is no requirement for providing biometric data
6) Do I need to apply for a Schengen visa if I have an ETIAS?
No. If you already have a Schengen visa, you do not need to apply for an ETIAS. You have to present your Schengen visa upon arrival
7) Am I eligible for an ETIAS?
If you are a national from any of the countries that are permitted visa-free travel (see above), then you will be eligible to apply for an ETIAS
8) How is the information on my application used in processing my ETIAS application?
Your information will be checked against a list of databases and watchlists which consist of data about people suspected of engaging in crimes or terrorism. It is very important to give honest answers when completing your application to prevent it from being refused
9) Once approved, can the ETIAS be taken away from me?
Yes. The ETIAS can be revoked after it has been issued, particularly if you have provided false information when applying for the authorization. In addition, if you are refused entry to a Schengen country or have reported your passport lost or stolen, the ETIAS could also be revoked
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