ETIAS – European Travel Information and Authorisation System

There are many countries who are not in the European Union (EU) whose citizens can enter the EU Schengen Zone without needing a visa. Specifically, there are currently 60 countries (as of August 2017) who are not in the EU, but are visa free.

Citizens of these countries are allowed to go into countries in the Schengen Zone for business or travel purposes for up to 90 days. During these 90 days, these visitors are not allowed to work or study, but can engage in business and tourism activities.

In addition, recent security concerns with terrorism and the migrant crisis have called for a better management of who is entering EU borders. The EU has continuously declared its goal of making travelling within its borders a more secure experience.

To reduce procedures and wait times, as well as address the security concerns, the European Commission (EC) has come up with a solution – ETIAS.

This article will contain all the information you need regarding this new system and whether you qualify for it.

What is ETIAS?

ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a completely electronic system which allows and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. In a way, it resembles the U.S Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose. The legal procedures to pass the ETIAS have started in 2016, and the system is expected to be in place by 2020.

The ETIAS will undergo a detailed security check of each applicant to determine whether they can be allowed to enter any Schengen Zone country. Since citizens of countries who do not need a visa for travel purposes of up to 90 days in the EU do not need to go through a long process of applying for the visa, the ETIAS will make sure that these people are not a security threat. This travel authorization system will gather, keep track of, and update necessary information regarding visitors to determine whether it is safe for them to enter Schengen countries.

The ETIAS, besides being used for business and tourist purposes, will also allow people to visit the Schengen countries for medical and transit reasons. In addition, it will be mandatory for all countries who are Schengen visa-free.

Why ETIAS Authorization?

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, State of the Union Address, 14 September 2016.

In his 2016 State of the Union Address, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker has said the following:

We need to know who is crossing our borders. This way we will know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here.

The main reason for the approval of the ETIAS authorization is security. With the increased risk of travelers worldwide, the EU wants to ensure safe travels in its countries. The ETIAS will decrease security concerns substantially through its information and data gathering systems. What this means, is that the ETIAS will detect if a person is a threat in any way to the security of Schengen countries. This will lead to the person being denied entry and avoiding the threat from being present inside EU borders. It will basically deal with a problem before it is even there.

However, besides making travelling more secure, the ETIAS authorization will also assist the EU countries and all travelers in the following ways:

  • Reduce procedures and application times
  • Improve the management of EU country borders
  • Assist in detecting and decreasing crime and terrorism
  • Impede irregular migration
  • Reinforce the visa liberalization policy of the EU

All in all, the ETIAS authorization will make travelling to the EU less of a hassle and a much safer experience.

THE TRAVEL AUTHORISATION SYSTEM WILL :

ETIAS TRAVEL AUTHORISATION SYSTEM WILL :

Who will need ETIAS?

As mentioned, the ETIAS targets citizens of countries who can enter the EU zone visa-free. As such, the following countries will need to get the ETIAS authorization:


  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • El Salvador
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Macao
  • Macedonia
  • Malaysia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Timor Leste
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela

Until the launching of the system by 2020, more countries might be added to the list, but at the moment, all citizens of the above mentioned countries, will be obliged to obtain ETIAS authorization before entering any EU country.

How will ETIAS system work?

The ETIAS system will be simple to use and will save time for applicants and for processing.

How will ETIAS system work?

 

Those who want to get approval, will have to follow these steps to apply for ETIAS:

Filling out the application form

The ETIAS application is expected to take about 20 minutes to fill out. It will be online so you will not have to go through paperwork. Depending on the country of citizenship that you choose, it will present you with several fields to fill. You must give the following information:

  • Biometric information such as:
    • First name
    • Last name
    • Last name at birth
    • Date of birth
    • Place of birth
  • Information regarding your citizenship
  • Address
  • Email and phone number
  • Education and work experience
  • First EU country you intend to visit
  • Background and eligibility questions which will inquire on your medical condition, travel to war countries or places where you were deported or rejected, as well as criminal records
  • For minors, the legal guardian must apply for ETIAS
  • For family members of EU citizens from other countries, you must submit proof of relationship, residence card, and other background information

Submitting the application

When you complete the application, you will have to pay the fee and submit it. The system will the do the following:

  • Check if the information you gave was correct
  • Check your eligibility
  • Check your risk factors

If what you filled out on the application form is correct, and you are eligible and not risky for the ETIAS, then you will be approved. This whole procedure is expected to be completed in only a few minutes.

However, if there is a hit from the ETIAS, the application will be manually processed. The manual processing is expected to take about 96 hours (4 days), or a maximum of 2 weeks.

REVOCATION OR ANNULMENT OF ETIAS TRAVEL AUTHORISATION

REVOCATION OR ANNULMENT OF ETIAS TRAVEL AUTHORISATION

How much will ETIAS cost?

The ETIAS will not burden your finances a lot. It is planned to have the ETIAS cost only €5 for each application. This is only valid for adults over 18 years old, as those under 18 will not have to pay any fees. You can pay the fee by debit or credit card. Immediately after you complete the payment, the ETIAS authorization will start processing.

FAQ about ETIAS

Below you will find answers to commonly asked questions regarding the ETIAS authorization.

How long is the ETIAS valid?

If approved, the ETIAS might be valid for 5 years or until your passport expires. Whether you will get the first period of validity or the second depends on the system’s evaluation of your information and risk.

What if my ETIAS application is denied?

Within minutes of your submission of the application, you will get a response on the status of your ETIAS. If it is approved, congratulations! If not, though, you will get the denial message. In the denial message, you will also have a reason as to why the ETIAS was denied. You could appeal to this decision or based on the denial reason, you can adjust your application and try again.

What documents do I need for the ETIAS authorization?

The only document you will need to apply for the ETIAS is your valid passport. Your passport might be required to have this information:

  • Your digital photograph which is not glued on the passport
  • A machine readable passport – which is found below your passport picture and has two lines of numbers, letters, and symbols
  • Electronic passport chip – which is not necessarily mandatory, but would be an advantage. This chip can be found in the cover page of your passport at the bottom.

Can I enter into any EU country with the ETIAS authorization?

To use the ETIAS authorization correctly, you must first pass through the first country you stated in your application. If you were planning to go through Germany, Belgium, and Austria, and you stated in your application that the first country you will visit is Germany, you must go through it before you visit Belgium and Austria. After you enter your first country, you can visit any other country in the Schengen Zone for 90 days.

However, just because you have the ETIAS does not necessarily guarantee you entry into the EU countries. This is at the discretion of the border authorities.

There are countries in the EU, which are not in the Schengen Zone, and you cannot enter them with the ETIAS authorization.

How does ETIAS check my information?

ETIAS will be connected to many databases which can verify your information within minutes. That is why it’s important for all applicants to give honest responses and not try giving false information. If you are caught giving fraudulent information to the ETIAS system, you will be denied the authorization. In addition, if your ETIAS is approved, but you are later found with incorrect or false information, your ETIAS will be revoked.

How long can I fill the ETIAS application?

As stated, the ETIAS application is expected to only take about 20 minutes to fill. After 20 minutes, you will receive a notification that your session has timed out and you might be asked to start from the beginning. To avoid this, try to go through the application carefully and save your information.

What if I am not eligible for the ETIAS?

All citizens of countries in the table above (countries which can enter the EU without visas) are eligible to apply for the ETIAS. If you are not eligible for this travel authorization, it means that you are not a citizen of those countries. This means that you must obtain a Schengen Visa to enter the EU countries.

Do I need ETIAS if I have a Schengen Visa?

No, if you have a Schengen Visa, then you will not need an ETIAS authorization. You can present your visa to the border authorities when you enter the Schengen Zone countries. When your visa expires, you can apply for the ETIAS if you are eligible.

Will British citizens be required to have the ETIAS authorization?

Since the UK is going through the Brexit procedures, it is still unclear of what the conditions will be. As the negotiations for the UK leaving the EU proceed, the situation will be clarified and British citizens will understand whether they have to get the ETIAS or not.

Latest updates about ETIAS