Marian Vasilescu August 30, 2019

Under the proposed ETIAS application process, 60 countries will be eligible to apply for ETIAS online. ETIAS travel authorizations will apply first to those who do not currently need a visa to enter Europe. These countries include the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, as well as a wide range of other eligible countries. Please note that toward the end of 2021, the citizens of all visa-exempt countries outside the European Union will be required to complete an ETIAS application before their trip to the Schengen Area.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), ETIAS is an important first step in the “digitalization of travel.” The end goal is the use of biometric technology – think fingerprints and facial recognition – to help provide the ultimate in security. The European Union (EU) agency driving this digital initiative is eu-LISA, the European Agency for the Operational Management of Large Scale IT Systems. It’s the very first EU agency established for the sole purpose of border and migration policies. Since it began operations in 2012, eu-LISA has been moving toward an all-digital, interoperable system so every key EU agency can get critical information to people on the front lines, such as border control and police.

ETIAS is an online system that runs a comprehensive security check on applicants to make border crossings easier and travel safer. Just one small error – even a misspelling – can delay approval or even cause denial of your entry into a participating ETIAS country. You must apply for ETIAS in advance of your trip. The approval process can take up to four days, but most applications are approved immediately.

ETIAS, the European Travel Information System, provides qualifying visitors a visa waiver when traveling to the Schengen Area, a group of European countries that have agreed upon who can visit and how long they can stay. The Schengen Area was created by the European Union, or EU, in the spirit of harmonious and free travel between borders and has grown to 26 countries – most are in the EU but some are not. Given the influx of international travelers to the Schengen Area, more comprehensive security checks have had to be put in place. ETIAS, much like ESTA in the United States, will create centralized data on who is visiting and why, providing enhanced security for all.

ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a completely electronic system which allows and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. In a way, it resembles the U.S Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose. The legal procedures to pass the ETIAS have started in 2016, and the system is expected to be in place by 2021.

Do I need ETIAS if I have a Schengen Visa? No, if you have a Schengen Visa, then you will not need an ETIAS authorization. You can present your visa to the border authorities when you enter the Schengen Zone countries. When your visa expires, you can apply for the ETIAS if you are eligible. See extra details on ETIAS Visa.