What Is ETIAS?
Etias or European Visa Waiver
Many people are confident in their understanding of International travel. A new system taking effect from 2021, will affect a large percentage of travelers to Europe and will need some preparation on the part of the traveler. The system is called the E.U Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS.
ETIAS is an important authorization process for visitors to the Schengen zone in Europe. Previously, visitors whose countries had close ties, or were seen as non-threatening nations, have been allowed access to the Schengen zone without a visa. This was very convenient for visitors, as it allowed unrestricted access to the whole of the Schengen zone. There were, of course, time restraints, but the movement was generally unrestricted and informal.
There has been a rise in terrorist incidents, vast numbers of refugees and defectors, and widespread health scares affecting residents of certain countries. The European Union has therefore decided to put into legislation a process that monitors all movement of who is in what country, when they are there and where they came from. This system has been introduced in order to keep all of its residents and visitors alike safe.
Many countries already have successful and straightforward travel visa systems in place.
- America has the ESTA, the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation.
- Australia has the eTA, the Electronic Travel Authority
- Canada has the eTA, the Electronic Travel Authority, which is the most recent addition to countries adding extra security measures to their borders.
For travelers thinking of going to Europe, you might need to apply for an ETIAS – All applicants will be required to fill in an online form with some basic personal details.
You will also be required to provide information about:
- Medical Conditions you have
- Countries you have visited that are actively engaged in war
- Countries from which you have been deported
- Countries where you have been refused entry
- Any criminal record you may have
The databases of various organizations including Interpol, Europol, Police and Immigration Control will also be accessed to determine individual travel eligibility. Essentially, this process helps the majority of travelers to stay safe and detect undesirable visitors before they can enter Europe.
Which Nationalities Need It
Once the ETIAS comes into effect, there are a great many people who will require one in order to visit Europe.
Foreign nationals, for the purpose of European travel, are separated into three groups. The first group are Schengen and E.U. nationals who are free to live, visit and work in each other’s countries.
The second group are non-Europeans who need a Schengen visa. The third group, to which America and Canada belong, won’t require a full visa but will need an ETIAS.
If you are a national, from the following list of countries, you will need an ETIAS to visit any country within the Schengen zone.
List of Countries Needing an ETIAS to Visit Europe:
Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Korea (Republic of)
Macedonia (Republic of)
Moldova (Republic of)
Saint Kitts and Nevis
St. Vincent and Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China:
Hong Kong (S.A.R.)
Entities and territorial authorities not recognised as States by at least one Member State:
Citizens of other countries (not listed above) outside of the Schengen zone will need to apply for a Schengen visa.
For those traveling on an ETIAS, It is perfectly acceptable to travel to the Schengen zone in Europe for tourism and business purposes, but it’s worth noting that work and study visits are not covered by the ETIAS program.
Business or Tourist Travelers – What you Need to Know
Business travelers should find the process of obtaining an ETIAS fairly straightforward. While the scheme is being introduced with security measures in mind, the benefits to travelers have also been a major consideration.
The European Government has commissioned a new 425 million euro interoperability initiative, which includes ETIAS, which will result in improvements for all legitimate travelers.
The following time-saving features will be built into the system:
- EES (Entry-Exit System), this will replace the manual stamping we now have at borders with an automatic logging system of location, timestamps, and biometrics.
- EU ETIAS – the Travel Application and Authorization System that will collect data on people traveling into the Schengen zone.
- ECRIS (European Criminal Records Information System), this will record criminal judgments handed down by national courts outside of the EU to non-EU nationals.
- Speedy process for searching recorded fingerprints and matching facial image data.
- Detector module and biographical information systems, enabling the proper identification of genuine visitors, while also searching for multiple identities to help combat identity fraud.
- European visa search portal, streamlining the previously time-consuming process of multiples searches on separate systems.
Border control is a necessary part of traveling, and it is generally expected that travelers may encounter delays. The ETIAS system is being designed to streamline the whole process.
For the tourist traveling to Europe, the ETIAS should make for a quicker journey through border controls thanks in large part to the knowledge and data that law enforcement agencies are sharing in this new initiative.
The European Parliament is determined that they will minimize the risks for travelers to Europe. Terrorist activity, due to knowledge capture and sharing, will be detected and stopped. Refugees will be helped in an organized fashion. All visitors to Europe will be accounted for.
What is ETIAS?
The EU TRAVEL INFORMATION & AUTHORISATION SYSTEM (ETIAS) was publicised by the European Commission as a visa waiver system or electronic visa similar to those which some countries are already utilizing. Those in possession of passports from within the EU single market are exempt from the ETIAS.
ETIAS and the world
Once in operation, visitors from European Union countries who did not require Schengen Visas, will have to apply for an ETIAS to enter Europe. This will affect holders of passports from over fifty countries including Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada.
What ETIAS means in numbers
The World Tourism Organisation sets the number of tourists entering Europe in 2015 at 602 million. By the European Commission’s estimates, some 30 million visitors not requiring visas, entered Schengen countries in 2014. It is estimated that this number will increase by 9 million in 2020. In financial terms, the ETIAS at €50 means an injection of €2 billion revenue for the EU countries per annum.
Reasons for ETIAS
Information on non-Europeans in the Schengen zone will be shared through a central source (ETIAS). Previously VIS (Visa Information System) and SIS (Schengen Information System) stored information relevant only to their purpose.
The European Union has suffered recent budget cut backs which can be substantially boosted by the projected €2 billion/annum from ETIAS fees
Not a new concept
Electronic visas and Visa Waiver systems have been around in other countries for a while. Australia has ETA, USA has ESTA, Canada has ETA, India has eVisa and so does Turkey.