In November 2016 the European Union (EU) decided to adopt the ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) proposal. The ETIAS proposal has been designed to increase the security of the region by introducing new security checks.
From 2021, Canadian citizens will need to register with ETIAS before travelling to any of the countries in the Schengen Area. ETIAS will be similar to the American ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).
Once live, it will be necessary to complete an online application to enroll with ETIAS. Applicants will need to answer a series of questions. The information entered will be screened using various security-related databases.
After registering, Canadians will be able to enter the Schengen Area for periods of up to 90 days. The ETIAS Europe authorization will last for three years or until the traveller’s passport expires (whichever comes first).
What does the ETIAS proposal mean for Canadians?
As things stand, Canadians are one of the 60 nationalities which will need to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization to visit the Schengen Area. Canadians will need to enroll with ETIAS before travelling to Europe.
Canadians will be able to complete the ETIAS application form online. Applicants will need to enter a range of information, including their:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Passport details
- Travel plans
There will also be a number of questions relating to background and security. Applicants will need to provide a little detail on whether they hold a criminal record, their medical history, as well as travel and immigration history.
Completing the ETIAS application form will take a matter of minutes. Once the information has been screened and the application has been processed, the approved ETIAS authorization will be sent to the applicant by email.
ETIAS will allow travellers to move freely between all 26 of the Schengen countries. There are no hard borders between the countries, only one shared, external border.
What will Canadians need to enroll with ETIAS?
To successfully obtain an ETIAS travel authorization, Canadians will need to meet a few basic requirements. Firstly, applicants will need to have a valid passport with at least six months remaining before expiry.
It will also be necessary to have a credit or debit card to pay the fee for the ETIAS travel authorization. Once approved, the authorization will be sent to the applicant to the email address stipulated in the application.
What are the benefits of the ETIAS proposal for the European Union?
The main benefit of the ETIAS proposal for the EU will be strengthening the external borders of the Schengen Area. The extra security check has been designed to stop people who are considered to be a risk to European security from entering the region.
ETIAS was proposed as a response to a series of tragic terrorist attacks that hit a number of Europe’s major cities. ETIAS will allow the EU to screen visitors before they enter any of the ETIAS countries and to identify potential risks. This will help to protect European cities as well as those travelling to the zone.