Europe is known to have some of the most popular destinations in the world, with stunning sights like the Eiffel Tower in France, the Amalfi Coast in Italy, the gorgeous turquoise islands in Greece, and so much more.
However, in 2022, the European Union will require visitors to have a new type of visa waiver called the ETIAS. Citizens from more than 60 nations will need to get an ETIAS travel authorization before they can enter the participating countries — you can check here to see the complete list.
If you plan to travel to Europe, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about the ETIAS visa waiver, what it does, and which countries are part of the program.
What is the ETIAS visa?
The ETIAS, also known as the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, is a visa waiver program that aims to secure the borders of the European Union for both locals and tourists.
Travelers who are planning to visit one or more countries that are part of the ETIAS program must fill out an online application form. This usually takes less than 15 minutes and asks basic questions such as the applicant’s full name, passport details, contact information, and a handful of yes/no questions regarding the traveler’s background information and criminal history.
To fill out the ETIAS application form, all you need is your passport (it’s best to keep it nearby for easy reference when answering passport-related questions), a valid form of payment to pay the processing fee, and an email address to receive the approved ETIAS.
Once the application is complete, the information you submitted will run through numerous government agencies, such as Interpol and Europol, in order to pre-check the data before you can enter the EU.
Benefits of the ETIAS
Naturally, there are many benefits of the ETIAS visa waiver. Since everything is done before your departure, you will spend less time waiting in line at the customs and immigration desk at the airport after you arrive.
Likewise, obtaining the ETIAS is far simpler than obtaining a traditional visa. Thanks to the online application, there is no need to visit your nearest embassy, collect piles of paperwork, or have an in-person interview with an immigration officer. Everything is done from the comfort of your own home or office.
Finally, the most significant benefit of the ETIAS is that it is valid for 3 years from the date of issue or until your passport expires (whichever comes first). Travelers are allowed to use their ETIAS to travel for tourism, medical treatment, business-related tasks, or to transit onto another destination.
Travelers are permitted to stay in the ETIAS-specific countries for a maximum of 90 days within 180 days. This gives you plenty of time to explore new destinations or come back to time-tested favorites.
Who needs an ETIAS visa?
Citizens of more than 60 countries will need to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver if they wish to visit any of the 26 European countries that make up the Schengen zone.
Citizens from countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America are eligible to apply for an ETIAS in order to enter the Schengen zone.
As the ETIAS visa waiver gains momentum, there is an increased chance that more countries will be added to the program and allowed to participate in the future.
Where can you travel with an ETIAS visa?
An ETIAS visa will practically open up the entire European Union for you to visit!
There are 26 countries and 3 microstates that will require eligible travelers to have an approved ETIAS.
These countries include Austria, Andorra, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, San Marino, and Vatican City.
No matter which country you end up choosing in Europe, the ETIAS will be your essential accomplice.
Once you have your ETIAS visa waiver, a carefully organized itinerary, and packed your bags (including some room for souvenirs!), it’s time to set out on your Europe trip. Bon voyage!