Update: According to an official source from the EU commission, the public launch of the ETIAS has been postponed until the end of 2022.
Starting in 2021, citizens of 60 countries, including the U.S., will need a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) to enter the 26 Schengen countries of the European Union (EU), plus San Marino, Vatican City, and Monaco. This applies whether arriving by air, land, or sea.
The ETIAS is an electronic security measure legislated by the EU to strengthen borders by prechecking travelers’ data. It waives the requirement of a conventional visa, so you don’t have to physically go to or send your passport to an embassy or consulate. Keep reading to learn how to get the ETIAS.
The waiver program has been approved and is expected to launch by the end of 2021. Once the ETIAS program is live, you will need to apply online at www.etias.com a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel. Travel Maestro tip: If your travel takes place at the very beginning of the program, you should apply as early as possible in case there are any hiccups in the new system.
The cost of the ETIAS is 7 euros; although it will be free for travelers under the age of 18 and over 70. It’s important to note that you will still need a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond travel. Your ETIAS will be valid for three years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
Completing the application should only take about 10 minutes. You’ll need to provide biometric and security information such as:
- Date and place of birth
- Contact details
- Passport details
- Travel plans
The application is checked against several security databases and watchlists. The vast majority of applicants will receive a decision within minutes, however, if your application is a positive match by the automated system, it will be reviewed by a human and take longer. Everyone will receive notification of “Approved,” “Refused,” or “Manual Processing” in no more than 96 hours after applying. If more documentation is required, you will be contacted within days, but a final decision could take several weeks. ETIAS denials may be appealed. Travel Maestro tip: Payment can only be made online by debit or credit card, and you must provide an email address to receive the ETIAS.
The United States, itself uses an electronic travel authorization for visitors from certain countries, as do Canada and Australia. In all cases, the precheck helps block crime and terrorism while reducing wait times for travelers and streamlining border processing. This is, indeed, a product of the times we live in.
If you have other questions about traveling to Europe, please contact our knowledgeable and helpful travel advisors.
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