What is ETIAS?
On the 16th of November 2016, the European Commission adopted a proposal to establish the European Travel Information and Authorization System. This initiative followed the EU’s agenda to focus on the security of the Schengen Member countries’ borders.
ETIAS is a visa waiver program that has been created to strengthen European external borders. Following terrorist attacks and unprecedented migration flows to many European nations, the ETIAS is one of the many measures taken by the EU to make the region safer.
Throughout the ETIAS form, applicants will be asked to provide their personal data and passport information. The traveller should select the Member state of the intended first entry. In order to obtain the ETIAS visa waiver for Europe, the applicant must answer some background questions on the subject of security and potential health risks.
ETIAS visa waiver program
ETIAS is an automated system designed by the EU to identify any risks associated with visa waiver-exempt visitors travelling to the Schengen Zone.
The European Union has launched the program to identify travellers that could pose a threat to the region. ETIAS will be used to analyze the applicant’s data and compare it with security databases to prevent a potential threat from ever reaching the EU. The travel authorization system will:
- Save travellers time & hassle
- Enhance border management
- Complement the EU visa waiver liberalization policy
- Put an end to irregular migration
- Fortify the efforts against terrorism
The visa waiver program will be available online. In the future, citizens of eligible countries will be expected to have an approved ETIAS upon arrival at the port of entry of any Schengen member country.
A visa waiver to travel to Europe
In recent years, Canadian citizens have not been required to apply for a visa waiver to travel to the Schengen Area. However, that will change as of 2021 for all visa waiver-free non-EU citizens that want to travel to and within Europe.
It is estimated that the EU will launch the ETIAS program in 2021. The ETIAS visa waiver for Europe will be an obligatory requirement to enter any of the member nations of the Schengen Area, including the three microstates (San Marino, the Vatican, and Monaco).
How does this affect you as a Canadian citizen? Once the system is live you will need to register before visiting an EU Schengen country. All you will need to do is apply online for the Europe visa waiver with a valid passport at least three days before your trip.
All of your details are automatically screened against a series of security databases. The vast majority of applications will be processed within minutes. If your profile has not been flagged, you will receive the approved ETIAS via the email address you provided in the application.