Over the years, EU citizens and a few other nationalities have been able to visit the EU Schengen freely without the need for a visa. However, this has created a lot of security issues. To solve these, and to ease up the entry process, the ETIAS was introduced. Short for European Travel Information and Authorization System, ETIAS was approved in 2016 and will be up and running by the year 2021.
What is ETIAS?
The ETIAS Europe is basically an electronic system that focuses on performing security threat detection as well as to reduce waiting time, and the processing time for people entering the Schengen region. However, this system is only for the nationalities who are normally free to enter the Schengen without a visa. All the information on the visitors is shared between all the members of the Schengen.
The system lets EU nationals and others from the visa-exempt category for Schengen to enter the territory for tourism, business, and even transit or medical purposes. The ETIAS tracks the details of the visitors entering the Schengen zone. According to the rules, every travelling, regardless of the age, who do not require the Schengen visa to enter will have to fill in an ETIAS online application to check if they are allowed to enter the zone.
The ETIAS, once issued, can be valid for up to 3 years or up to the validity of the travel document, whichever comes first. This again depends on how the system evaluates you on the basis of eligibility and risk.
Why ETIAS Authorization?
Europe has been a free travel zone for a large number of nationals. To be precise, 62 nationals do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area. However, in light of terrorism and the recent European migrant crisis, security concerns in the region have severely increased. The reason being that there is no tracking mechanism to monitor the entries, as a result, anyone and everyone could enter the region.
With Europe being one of the most visited places, the number of travellers will just keep on increasing. In order to control this and to deny entry to individuals who are a threat to other citizens, the ETIAS is introduced. Along with reducing security concerns, the system also is driven to provide a hassle-free experience to travellers in the following ways -
- Reduced procedure and application time.
- Easier and better management of the internal borders.
- Detecting and reducing terrorism and other crimes before they arise.
- Restrict illegal migration.
- Strengthen the already existing visa policy of the EU.
Who will need ETIAS?
According to the regulations, only the nationalities who do not require a visa to enter the EU/Schengen will have to go through the ETIAS. The following are the list of countries whose nationals will need to make an ETIAS online application before travelling.
|Australia||Bahamas||Barbados||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Colombia||Costa Rica||Dominica||El Salvador|
||Peru||Saint Kitts and Nevis||Saint Lucia|
||Solomon Islands||South Korea||Taiwan**|
||Tonga||Trinidad and Tobago||Tuvalu|
||United Arab Emirates||United States of America||Uruguay|
* - Only for biometric passport holders
** - Only for passports with the identity card number
*** - Hong Kong - only for holders of the Special Administrative Region passport holders
Macau - only for “Região Administrativa Especial de Macau” passport holders
Note: - The situation of the United Kingdom is quite complex. Due to the Brexit talks, it is still unclear if the UK citizens would need a Schengen or an ETIAS to travel to Europe.
How will ETIAS system work?
In simple terms, the ETIAS check the applicant with several databases as well as record the travel information. The ETIAS online application can be done as follows -
- Fill out the application form -
- The application form for the ETIAS application is expected to be completed in a mere 10 minutes-. Being online, there is no unnecessary paperwork involved either. Based on your nationality, you will have to fill in several fields. You will have to fill in the details as mentioned below -
- The primary fields involve your biometric information such as - first name, last name, name at birth, date of birth, and the place of birth.
- Information regarding your citizenship, This includes the passport you are holding, place of residence, etc.
- Complete address of the applicant.
- Basic contact information including phone number and email.
- Educational and work experience of the applicant.
- Travel details such as the port of entry and the other visiting countries.
- Background and eligibility questions including your previous travel history, any deportations or visa rejections, medical conditions, criminal convictions, etc.
- Submit the application -
- Once you have filled in the application form, you must pay the fee and submit it.
- Once submitted, the system will process your application. It will scan it through other databases including Europol, VIS, SIS, Interpol, etc to check for your risk factors.
- It will also check your eligibility and the authenticity of the information you have provided.
- If successful, you will be issued with the ETIAS authorization in a matter of a few minutes.
- In case your search has turned out to be a hit on one of the databases, the application will have to be processed manually. This can take about 4 working days to even 2 weeks.
Note:- Even if your application has been approved, and at a later point in time, if it is identified that the information provided is fake or that you are a considered a risk, your ETIAS will be revoked.
If your application has been rejected, you will receive a message which states the reason for the rejection as well. You can either choose to appeal the decision or do the necessary modifications and apply again.
How much will ETIAS cost?
The ETIAS is incredibly cheap. For adults, the application fee is just 7 Euros as compared to the 60 Euros for a visa. And for people below the age of 18, there is no fee charged. You may pay the fees using a credit or debit card as soon as you fill in the application form.