ETIAS is the new travel authorization system for European Union. The new European Travel Information and Authorization System will go into effect in November 2023. This visa waiver will affect 60 countries that currently have a visa-free travel agreement within the Schengen zone.
To obtain the ETIAS visa waiver visitors need to fill in the online application form. The ETIAS form will consist of several steps:
- Completing personal data section
- Uploading passport or manually writing the passport details
- Answering the security and background check questions
- Paying the application fee
- Submitting the ETIAS application and waiting for the feedback
We prepared a brief Infographic about ETIAS requirements, application steps, important dates and general travel information below.
ETIAS Infographic – What is ETIAS?
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What is ETIAS visa waiver?
ETIAS visa waiver is a new mandatory travel system designed for non-EU travelers. But it only applies to citizens of the countries that have a visa-free travel agreement with EU. The list of such countries contains roughly 60 states worldwide including the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The main purpose of ETIAS is to strengthen the border security of the European Union and at the same time make traveling and border-control procedures easier and faster for travelers.
ETIAS is not live at the moment. As per official information the system will come into full force by the end of 2023, specifically in November 2023. But even after it’s live, travelers have a transition period of 6 months. During this transition period ETIAS will not be a MUST. Instead, it will be a voluntary option to apply for it and use it for traveling.
After the transition period is over, ETIAS will be a mandatory requirement for all visa-exempt travelers. To obtain it, you will have to complete an online application that takes less than 15 minutes in total. The only document required for the application is a valid, biometric passport. You can learn more about the application steps and requirements below in the article.
ETIAS timeline and important dates
Initially, the idea to bring in the online travel authorization came in 2016. This system shares very similar principles to already existing systems like ESTA (for visiting USA) and eTA (for visiting Canada).
The official statement regarding the establishment of ETIAS visa waiver appeared in 2018 when the European Commission approved the regulation. After that it took more than 2 years for the officials to prepare the complete framework and scope of the system.
In 2020, European Commission released the complete description of the travel authorization. It included all the necessary requirements and application steps for obtaining ETIAS, as well as security databases involved in pre-screening the travelers.
Surprisingly, ETIAS was postponed several times. First, the public expected to see the system in action at the end of 2021, but it did not happen. Next, we were preparing for new regulations by the end of 2022, wronged again. The latest information says that ETIAS will come alive in November 2023.
ETIAS does not have many requirements. The only document needed is a valid, biometric passport. Rest is information that you have to fill-in manually. The very first requirement is an eligibility criteria. If you are a citizen of any state that does not fall into a category of visa-exempt countries to EU, you need to apply for Schengen visa, instead.
If you represent one of the visa-exempt country nationals you will need to apply for ETIAS. Also, you will have to be of the legal age or otherwise your legal guardian or a parent must fill-in the application on behalf of you.
During the application, you need an internet connection and an electronic device. You can complete the form using your mobile phone, tablet or personal computer (laptops included). You must have your passport available at the moment of the application, as well.
ETIAS application steps
Completing ETIAS application takes less than 15 minutes in total. It consists of 5 simple and straightforward stages.
1. Personal Details
Start with filling out your first and last name along with the birth date. You will need to provide your country of residence, as well as the residential address. This section also asks for the basic contact information. It includes your valid email address (important!) and a phone number.
2. Passport Details
We expect to see two options within the section: to upload the scanned Passport document or to fill in the passport details manually. Either way, you have to make sure that you passport has a validity of at least 6 months after the intended arrival within the European Union. Also, make sure that you travel with the same passport as indicated during the application (important for applicants with dual citizenship!). Complete the form by providing your passport number, expiry and issue dates, and issuance country.
3. Security Questions
Much like other travel authorizations and visa waivers, ETIAS will also be asking several background check questions. These questions could vary from your past travel history to your employment status. There will be several different topics covered including drug abuse, communicable diseases, past travel history, criminal record, illegal migration, terrorism, identity theft, etc.
4. Application Fee
Application fee is the last stage of your ETIAS application. To successfully submit the form you have to pay the commission fee, first. The fee consists of the processing and administrative costs which could vary from 7 to 25 Euros. The official information regarding the ETIAS fee is not released at the moment. According to the latest information minors will be exempt from the ETIAS application fee.
5. Submitting and Feedback
After your payment goes successful you will receive an email. In ordinary cases, your feedback will arrive in less than 24 hours from submitting the form. Both approval and rejection will come to your email. If you get a rejection email, you have a chance to re-apply for the visa waiver but with a manual process. It means that officials may ask for additional documents and in-person interview.