Canadian citizens can currently travel to Schengen member states for up to 90 days without the need to apply for a Schengen visa. However, the EU has planned to launch a new program in 2021 that will change how people travel to the region.
The European Travel and Authorization System, ETIAS, is an electronic and automated system designed to keep track of foreign visitors from countries who don’t 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 first signed in June 14th, 1985, which led to the formation of the Schengen Area. In 1990, it was proposed to abolish systematic internal border controls and implement a common visa policy. 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). The 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. However, they do need to travel with an identification document.
There are 6 European countries that are not in the Schengen zone and have not signed the agreement that abolishes internal borders.
- The United Kingdom
The ETIAS visa waiver will not be valid for the six countries listed above. In order to travel to any of these six 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. This will be an obligatory migratory requirement to enter the Schengen member countries.
As a Canadian citizen, you are third-country national exempt from applying for a Schengen visa. Therefore, once the travel authorization program is officially launched, in order to travel to any Schengen member country you will have to enroll for an ETIAS visa waiver before your trip.