At the moment, Canadians and many other nationalities can travel to any country in the Schengen Area without needing any form of travel authorization. However, this will change in 2021 with the introduction of ETIAS: the new European tourist visa waiver.
ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) has been created in response to a string of high-profile terrorist attacks. The new scheme aims to strengthen the security of the region by adding additional security measures that identify possible threats.
As of 2021, Canadian travellers will need to apply for ETIAS by completing an online application form before visiting any country in the Schengen Area. The Schengen Area consists of all of the countries in the European Union (minus the UK, Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania) as well as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.
How can Canadians obtain the new European tourist visa waiver?
The process of obtaining an ETIAS Europe tourist visa waiver will be simple and straightforward. From 2021, Canadians will be able to enroll with ETIAS by completing an online application.
Applicants will complete the form by providing a range of basic information such as their contact details (including their name, address, and phone number), passport details, and travel plans (dates, times etc.). There will also be a series of security-related questions.
All the information provided on the application will be screened using security databases and a decision will be made to either approve or deny the visa waiver request. The entire process is expected to take a matter of minutes and travellers are likely to receive their Europe tourist visa waiver on the same day as the application.
To be able to successfully complete the application for the Europe tourist visa waiver, Canadians will need to meet some basic visa waiver requirements. It will be necessary to have a valid passport as well as a credit or debit card to pay the ETIAS fee.
How long is a European tourist visa waiver valid for?
An approved ETIAS visa waiver will be valid for three years from the date of issue. Canadians will be able to use it to enter the Schengen Area multiple times during that period as long as the total number of days spent in the region does not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period.
However, if someone’s passport expires before this three-year validity period, their ETIAS tourist visa waiver will expire and no longer be valid. An ETIAS tourist visa waiver is attached to a specific passport and cannot be transferred to another.
In these cases, travellers can reapply for a new European tourist visa waiver for their new passport. The renewal process is just as straightforward as the original process.