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14 Mar 2019

Canadians Will Need to Apply for a Travel Authorization to Visit Europe from 2021

Canadians Will Need to Apply for a Travel Authorization to Visit Europe from 2021Starting from January 2021 and on, Canadians will need to complete some extra procedures in order to visit Europe for tourism and business purposes.

As of this date, Canadian passport holders have enjoyed the benefit of entering Europe with only a valid passport. However, soon they will need to apply online for a travel pass in order to enter any of the 26 Schengen Area countries.

This travel pass is called ETIAS and stands for the European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a completely electronic scheme, established with the purpose of keeping track of travelers from the 60+ EU visa free countries.  It is the equivalent of the Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) and the American Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

A proposal for the establishment of the ETIAS was first introduced in 2016. At the time the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said that ETIAS is a “way to know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here.”

Recently, several online media have been misguided by a website claiming that the ETIAS is a visa, thus reporting that Canadians, Americans and Australians will need visas as of January 2021. However, this is incorrect. The EU itself points out in a press release of November 2016, that the ETIAS authorization is not a visa, but rather a lighter and more visitor-friendly regime.

Nationals of visa liberalization countries will still be able to travel without a visa but will have to obtain a simple travel authorization prior to their travel to the Schengen Area. This will help identify persons who may pose an irregular migration or security risk before they arrive at the border and significantly enhance the security of the external borders,” the EU explains.

As a country under the EU visa-free regime, Canadian citizens will need to apply for an ETIAS before taking a flight to any of the 26 Schengen Area member states.  The application process for an ETIAS is simple and quick. It is estimated that the application takes around 10 minutes to complete. It costs only €7 and is no more complicated than the Canadian ETA.

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