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ETIAS Is a New Passport to Travel in Europe


The ETIAS or European Travel Information and Authorisation System is a pre-screening program designed for visa-exempt travelers looking to enter any of the member states of the European Union. The program will come to effect from November 2023. Experts are describing ETIAS as a new passport to travel in Europe.

It was created with the aim of preventing future immigration flows and terrorist attacks, events that have become extremely common in this part of the world.

U.S. citizens are required to apply for an ETIAS before they seek entry to participating European countries. The travel should be on a short-term basis, below 90 days, and for business, medical, transit, or general tourism purposes. The ETIAS travel authorization will be valid for 3 years and supports multiple entries within this time span.

The ETIAS visa waiver is valid for U.S. citizens who want to enter countries that are a part of the Schengen Area, and not the European Union (EU). That means no additional European permissions or travel documents are required.

For your information, the Schengen zone consists of 26 European countries that have abolished their national borders to allow their citizens to move unrestrictedly and freely. The abolishment of internal borders took place for having greater control over the external borders and fighting criminality more efficiently.

Why Did the EU Decide to Implement ETIAS?

The EU decided to implement the scheme primarily to strengthen its control over its external borders and enhance the security of the territories within those borders. When the scheme will start working, the member states of the EU will have the right to do the following:

  • Carry out advance checked of people looking to enter their territory
  • Reject applications for travel authorization to nationals of visa-exempt countries and stop them from entering the Schengen zone if the concerned individuals are believed to be possible threats to the European Union.
  • Take steps to strengthen the internal security of all member states.
  • Stop illegal immigration.
  • Limit risks to public health by identifying individuals who might leave any one of these territories at risk before they cross the external borders of the Schengen zone.

How to Apply for an ETIAS? 

Before you learn the application process, you must know that all will need to wait till January 1, 2023, to get their ETIAS visa. Here are the steps you’ll need to complete to obtain your ETIAS:

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility 

All U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for ETIAS visa, provided they meet the following requirements & documentation:

  • You are traveling to Europe for short-terms stays for up to 90 days
  • Round trip flight tickets or tickets to an onward destination
  • Duly filled-up Schengen Europe visa application form
  • A valid U.S. passport with at least two blank pages
  • Copies of Schengen visas issued earlier
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to support your stay in Europe
  • Any accommodation bookings made for the stay
  • Travel insurance covering medical care while you travel
  • A passport-sized, recent photograph against a white background

Step 2: Online Application 

Begin by checking your bank account to ensure that it has more than 7 Euros, which is the fee for getting the application processed. Additionally, make sure that you are using a high-speed internet connection.

To fill out the application form, you’ll need to provide some basic information like your name and surname, gender, place of birth, passport info, nationality info, details of education, employment history, details of your parents, contact number, security information, criminal history, medical history, info on drug use, and details of previous trips to Europe.

Step 3: Ensure That You Have a Valid Passport 

American citizens applying for an ETIAS must require a passport that is valid for three months beyond the person’s intended stay in EU countries. Passports that are over 10 years old are likely to get rejected as a valid travel document. Travelers must hold a valid e-passport that is machine-readable.

Applicants who have dual nationality, and as such multiple passports, should use the same passport for ETIAS application as well as travel to the Schengen area. This is because the ETIAS will be linked electronically only to a single passport.

Step 4: Processing of the Application

Once you submit the online application along with all the necessary documents and the application fee, you will need to wait for the screening process to be complete to get your ETIAS. If all information provided by you is correct and you don’t impose any threat to the security and health of the EU or Schengen countries, your application would be approved and your ETIAS will be issued.

All applications must be submitted at least 96 hours before your date of departure. If your ETIAS application gets rejected, you can still apply for a full visitor visa. It is important to understand that getting approved for ETIAS does not guarantee you entry to Europe. The final decision lies with border security personnel of the country you are visiting.

For U.S. children under the age of 18, it is mandatory to submit a separate ETIAS visa waiver application. Parents or legal guardians can submit the application on behalf of a minor, but every child needs to have an individual approved ETIAS before traveling.

The world will need to wait for more than a year for this new scheme to be implemented. Only time will tell what kind of impact it will have on tourism and security in Europe.



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