16 May Everything you need to know about the ETIAS
ETIAS are due to come into play in 2021 and will be needed to access countries that are part of the Schengen Area. The 26 countries which comprise the Schengen Area effectively have removed borders between each country allowing free travel between each state.
Although the Schengen Area comprises mostly of EU countries there are exceptions. The UK and Ireland are not part of the agreement and other countries which are not part of the EU are part of the Schengen Area.
To enter the Schengen Area and travel custom check free from state to state, you will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver by completing an online form. As a traveller, you will be in luck as you will not need to go to an embassy to pick up your ETIAS authorization as the whole application process is handled online.
The system is similar to the ETAS visa wavier system used by the United States.
The ETIAS is for tourism only. Student and work visas will not be covered under the new system.
Currently, there are 26 ETIAS countries that form the Schengen Area. They are:
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
- Vatican City
The online form will ask for basic details about you and your fellow travellers. This will include name, address, date of birth and passport number. There will be other questions too which will include health and security. These are asked to satisfy authorities that you do not wish to do harm while in the country.
Once complete and approved you will be sent your ETIAS electronically. Once you enter your first Schengen country you just present your travel authorization electronically and will not need to show your passport as relevant checks would have been done.
Once you enter your first country you can then travel freely between member states.
Not every country will need to apply for a Schengen visa. EU member state citizens can travel freely between EU states without border checks. There are currently 60 countries where an ETIAS will be necessary to travel in the Schengen Area. They are:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Timor Leste
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Currently, many of these countries can travel to the Schengen Area without a visa but this will change when the ETIAS system goes live.
If you are planning to travel to any country in the Schengen Area it is good practice to check the ETIAS requirements so you are not caught unaware by unforeseen changes.