ETIAS visa waiver for the U.S. Citizens
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Welcome to Europe
What is ETIAS authorization?
Over 500 million people travel to Europe every year. Around 18% of those travelers will need ETIAS from November 2023 to visit EU. ETIAS is an European Travel Information and Authorization System intending to increase security and avoid problems associated with illegal immigration and terrorism.
The ETIAS visa waiver will be required for anyone wishing to visit Europe, including U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens within the system will need to apply for an ETIAS visa when traveling for less than 90 days within the Schengen member state area with ETIAS.
ETIAS validity lasts for 3 years from the time of approval and U.S. citizens will be permitted multiple entries into any country in the Schengen member state.
Completing the ETIAS application online takes less than 10 minutes, and you will only need a biometric passport for this process. After you fill out the application form, the system will check your input data across different security and information databases, such as Europol, Interpol, and others.
ETIAS documents for U.S. citizens traveling to Schengen Countries
Obtaining an ETIAS visa waiver is a streamlined process for U.S. citizens. All you need is a biometric passport (that has been valid for 3 months and will remain valid for at least 6 months beyond each traveler’s intended stay), a credit card to pay the ETIAS fee (from 7 to 25 euros), and a personal email address (where you will receive information about the ETIAS approval). Officials expect that over 90% of ETIAS applications will be approved.
As per the ETIAS requirements proposed by the European Commission, travel authorization cannot be issued to applicants with a passport older than 10 years. If an applicant has dual citizenship, he/she must use the same document while completing the application and during the travel period because the Travel Information and Authorization System will be electronically linked to an individual identity document.
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Who will need an ETIAS visa waiver to travel to Europe?
There are 60 ETIAS-eligible countries, including the U.S. Currently, the citizens of those countries can travel to Europe without a visa. However, starting in November 2023 with a 6 month transition period, these citizens will be required to apply for ETIAS to travel to Europe.
An approved European ETIAS visa waiver will pre-screen all travelers before they board a plane. This shall cut around 25-40% of time needed for data check at the border control. All information submitted to the ETIAS form will be carefully inspected, and the details will be checked using several European Commission security databases.
When do you need ETIAS visa waiver? ETIAS visa waivers will be available for short-term business and leisure stays. Anyone planning to study or work in Europe for more than 90 days will need to apply for a different visa.
ETIAS for U.S. citizens is not the same as a Schengen visa. Those travelers who are citizens of countries that have no visa-free travel agreement with Europe will need to apply for a Schengen visa. This also applies to people traveling for studying or working purposes as ETIAS does not cover these reasons.
ETIAS Eligible Countries
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovin
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- North Macedonia
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Saint Kitts & Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Timor Leste
- Trinidat & Tobago
- United Kingdom
- United States
Travelers must apply for ETIAS USA when traveling to any of the following countries:
- San Marino
- Czech Republic
How ETIAS authorization will secure Europe?
Experts agree that terrorism and migration fit into two distinct policy fields. But latest events show that in certain circumstances these two overlap in an alarming way. European Union experienced series of terrorist attacks since 2015. Many found a correlation between the organized crime and the uncontrolled irregular migration to the region. This has put EU’s visa liberalization policy under obvious strain.
European Union has many systems that provide the data to border authorities and law enforcement officers on migrants and visitors to EU. Yet, keeping the Schengen region secure remains as a considerable challenge. At the same time, EU has to think about EU passenger rights and travelers’ rights and keep preserving them. There are apparent gaps in the information exchange between those authority entities we mentioned and eradicating the gaps seems way to complex.
That is why, creation of the ETIAS authorization system along with other measures were taken 8 years ago.
ETIAS system against illegal migration
Free movement is one of the European Union’s many fundamental accomplishments. The Schengen Borders Code defines the affairs between its member states in a way that removes nearly every kind of border control for the intra-EU travel. Together with the visa liberalization program of the EU, amplified fears of continues illegal migration movements and increasing occurrences of international terrorism led to panic among the people of the Europe.
Alone in 2015-2016, Europe went through 3 major terroristic attacks that many experts believe was due to an overlap between uncontrolled migration and international terrorism. These three cases are:
- The 2015 Paris attacks
- The 2016 Brussels Airport bombings
- The 2016 Berlin Christmas Market attack
This dark period in Schengen zone pushed the authorities to come up with the new border management systems. They proposed three centralized information systems:
- The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS)
- The Entry-Exit System (EES)
- The European Criminal Record Information System for third-country nationals (ECRIS-TCN)
We have to understand that these new systems do not imply replacement of the previous security and information databases. On the contrary, they will act in accordance with the already existing parties, authorities and data sources. For example, the role of Europol in the successful implementation of European security plan is immense, as well as screening of the migrants that reside at the camps in the region.
ETIAS Frequently Asked Questions
ETIAS for US citizens will be mandatory from May 2023. All US travelers will need to fill the online visa waiver application at least 72 hours before traveling. Without an approved ETIAS, US nationals will no longer be able to visit Europe. But, over 90% of the requests from the US applicants will be approved as officials per official website information.
There will be a 6-month transition after ETIAS is live, which means that traveling with ETIAS will be optional, at first.
ETIAS will be implemented in May 2023 according to the latest information. At first, there will be a 6 month transition period for all visa-exempt travelers. During these 6 months, applying for ETIAS will be optional. After the transition period is over, all US citizens will have to submit the application and get an approved travel authorization. It will be impossible to travel to Europe Schengen zone without ETIAS by the end of 2023.
Applying for an ETIAS visa waiver will require a valid passport, email address, and debit/credit card to pay for the application fee. Travelers will only be able to use the Travel Information and Authorization System for tourism, transit, business travel, and stays related to study or work that last a maximum of 90 days.
If you hold a biometric passport of any of the visa-exempt countries to Europe, you will need ETIAS. ETIAS US Citizens rules are the same for all visa-waiver countries outside the European Union. Both adults and minors will need to apply for an ETIAS visa before they travel to the Schengen Area. ETIAS allows entry to 26 European countries in the Schengen Area. These countries do not have to pass passport checks at each other’s borders.
ETIAS Visa Waiver will enable eligible visitors to enter Schengen Area for up to 90 day for tourism, transit, or business. Because there are no hard borders inside the Schengen area, travelers can freely move between countries.
You don’t need ETIAS in 2022, the system will not go live until 2023. The EU has already started preparations to launch the electronic visa waiver program by the end of this year. But, even after ETIAS is live travelers will have 6 months transition period before it becomes mandatory.
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