Who Needs ETIAS?
There is a tried and tested system in place where citizens of certain trusted countries are allowed free access to the EU and Schengen member countries.
Travelers from countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States enjoy this privilege. Due to be rolled out by 2021, a new system (ETIAS) is due to replace the fairly informal situation that presently exists.
The ETIAS (EU Travel Information and Authorization System) is slated to come into effect for four reasons.
- An increase in terrorist incidents. France, Belgium, Germany, and Spain have recently been affected; this system can help to prevent terrorist movement.
- An increase in the number of visitors to Europe. Movement throughout Europe is increasing annually, and this system has been designed to speed up border controls.
- Vast numbers of people are being displaced due to war, persecution and economic benefits and are therefore seeking asylum or refugee status in Europe. Predictions are that these numbers will continue to increase.
- Thanks to the advances in ECT (electronic communication technology) and the almost universal use of the Internet by travelers, this system is seen as a practical way to arrange pre-travel authorization.
This new system will mean that travelers will need to apply online before they travel. Most applications will be approved within a few minutes.
There are three distinct groups of travelers entering the European Schengen zone:
Group 1 – EU and Schengen nationals – Do not need ETIAS
Group 2 – Non-European nationals – This group presently doesn’t need a visa, as they enjoy close economic and cultural ties to the E.U. and are seen as non-threatening nations with strong security procedures in place. This is the group that will soon require an ETIAS.
Group 3 – This is the group of non-European nationals who presently do need a visa to visit Europe. This group is generally made up of citizens of countries that do not have strong cultural or economic links to the E.U. or who are classed as third world countries. This group will still require a Schengen visa and WILL NOT be eligible for the ETIAS.
List of countries not needing a visa 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:
Do I need an ETIAS or a Schengen visa?
As with all new systems, there is the likelihood of some confusion while the ETIAS settles into place. It is important that visitors apply for the correct documentation and do not apply for a visa to enter Europe when they should apply for an ETIAS.
There are two key differences as to who needs which travel authorization.
- Citizens of the above countries will need ETIAS.
- Citizens of other countries, not on the ETIAS scheme, will need a Schengen visa
Does it Matter if I am Traveling for Business or Pleasure?
Business travelers require travel authorization dependent on which country they are a citizen of, not dependent on the nature of their trip, as long as you are traveling for up to 90 days in any 180 day period.
When vacationing in Europe for up to 90 days in any 180 day period, tourists must make sure they have the travel authority intended for the country they are a citizen of.
Apply in advance of your trip and once approved, your ETIAS will be electronically attached to your passport, allowing unrestricted movement in the EU and Schengen member countries.
Do Children Need an ETIAS?
All people traveling from the above-listed countries need to apply for an ETIAS. The only difference for those aged under 18 years and traveling in the Schengen zone, is that they will not be charged the processing fee. Even babies will need the ETIAS on their passport before being allowed to travel.
Do I need ETIAS if I Will be Traveling Through Europe but Will not Leave the Airport?
Before boarding your mode of transport, you will be required to show your passport with the electronic ETIAS. Failure to do so will mean you will not be allowed to continue on your onward journey.