The implementations of Brexit and ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) will affect Canadians who travel to any country in the Schengen Area or the UK.
At the moment Canadians can travel freely to the UK and the other EU countries. However, once ETIAS is implemented at the end of 2022, Canadians will need to enroll with ETIAS to travel to the Schengen countries.
Brexit negotiations are still ongoing and the consequences are unclear. However, it is still possible that the UK could introduce its own version of ETIAS to tighten its borders.
This article explores what the implications of Brexit could be for Canadian travellers in Europe. It will look at the changing world of tourism in the area and studies what effect ETIAS will have on a vacation.
The Schengen area, ETIAS, and Brexit
The UK, despite being in the EU, has never been a part of the Schengen Area. The Schengen Area is a group of countries which have no hard borders between them, only a singular, hard, external border. Most EU countries are in the Schengen area and there a few countries which are not a part of the EU but are in Schengen.
ETIAS was being developed just before Brexit began. After a series of high profile terrorist attacks, Schengen members and the EU decided that measures need to be taken to improve the security of the region.
What will Brexit mean for Canadians travelling to the UK
At this stage, it is unclear exactly how future travel to the UK will work. There are currently a number of countries including Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, and Japan which can travel to the UK without a visa.
The UK Government will have the option of adding all EU countries to the list of eligible visa-free countries but this will depend on how the Brexit negotiations go. The government may decide to tighten its borders as security, and particularly immigration were big issues in the Brexit debate.
However, at the same time, the UK may want to strengthen its relationships outside of Europe and look to build bridges with countries like Canada and the US, rather than creating travel restrictions.
Even in the event that the UK decides on a new travel authorization system for international travellers, it won’t necessarily happen soon. It could take years to implement and Canadians may still be allowed to enter with any form of visa.
How will Canadians be able to enroll with ETIAS and travel to Europe?
Whether the UK strikes a trade deal with Europe or not. Canadians will still need to register with ETIAS before travelling to any of the Schengen countries.
The application involves answering a range of information, including answering health- and security-related questions. The form should take a matter of minutes complete and travellers will need to pay a fee to submit the application.
All the information provided on the application will be screened against several security databases to identify potential threats to security. The Schengen visa waiver will last for 3 years, or less if the ETIAS holder’s passport expires before that validity is up. If this happens it will be necessary to re-register.