What is ETIAS?
On the 16th of November 2016, the European Commission adopted a proposal to establish the European Travel Information and Authorisation System. This initiative followed the EU’s agenda to focus on the security of the Schengen Member countries’ borders and facilitate international travel.
ETIAS is a visa waiver program that has been created to strengthen European external borders and streamline document checks. Following recent events, ETIAS is one of the many measures taken by the EU to make the region safer and travel easier.
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 and optimise screening processes.
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 authorisation 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. Although mandatory, ETIAS is not a visa and will not change the visa-free status of eligible visitors.
A visa waiver to travel to Europe
In recent years, Canadian citizens have not been required to apply for a permit to travel to the Schengen Area. However, that will change as of 2022 for all visa waiver-free non-EU citizens that want to travel to and within Europe. They will still be able to enter Europe without a visa but will be required to have an ETIAS visa waiver.
It is estimated that the EU will launch the ETIAS program at the end of 2022. 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.)
Many may be wondering how this will affect Canadian citizens. Once the system is live, they will need to register with ETIAS before visiting an EU Schengen country. All they will need to do is apply online for the Europe visa waiver with a valid passport, ideally at least 3 days before their trip.
All of the applicant’s details are automatically screened against a series of security databases. The vast majority of applications will be processed within minutes. If the petitioner’s profile has not been flagged, they will receive the approved ETIAS at the email address they provided in the application.