Canadian citizens can travel to Schengen member states for up to 90 days without applying for a Schengen visa. However, the EU will launch a new programme at the end of 2022 that will change how people travel to the region.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System, ETIAS, is an electronic and automated system designed to keep track of foreign visitors from countries who do not need the Schengen visa to travel to Europe. The ETIAS countries will require that Canadian citizens have an approved ETIAS upon arrival.
ETIAS and the Schengen Area
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty that was first signed on June 14th, 1985, which led to the formation of the Schengen Area. In 1990, the abolition of systematic internal border controls and implementation of a common visa policy was proposed. Because of this, many countries across the world need to process a Schengen visa to visit the region.
The Schengen zone is made up of 26 countries and 3 microstates (Monaco, Vatican and San Marino.) ETIAS will be necessary to enter all the members in the Schengen zone.
European citizens do not need a visa in order to travel within the Schengen zone. ETIAS is not a visa and Canadians will maintain their visa-free privileges after the introduction of the new travel authorisation.
There are 6 European countries that are not in the Schengen Area and have not signed the agreement that abolishes internal borders.
- The United Kingdom
The ETIAS visa waiver will not be valid for the 6 countries listed above. In order to travel to any of these 6 countries, it is advised to check additional information with their embassy or consulate.
ETIAS eligible countries
Along with Canada, all visa-exempt non-EU nationals who want to travel to any country in the Schengen Area will have to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver using their valid passport. This will be an obligatory migratory requirement to enter the Schengen member countries.
Canadian citizens are considered third-country nationals exempt from applying for a Schengen visa. Therefore, once the travel authorisation programme is officially launched, in order to travel to any Schengen member country they will have to enrol for an ETIAS visa waiver before their trip.