London, United Kingdom – July 12, 2021 – Traveling to Europe is set to change for many people in 2022. The countries that make up the Schengen Area are getting ready to launch a new travel authorization system that will act as a visa waiver.
Passengers who do not need a visa to visit these countries will now need to register before they set off.
This new online platform is called the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, or ETIAS.
Applying with this system is expected to be straightforward. Travelers must meet the ETIAS visa waiver requirements, including holding a passport issued by a country that enjoys visa exemption for the Schengen region.
The US, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and much of Latin America are among the eligible countries. Citizens of these nations can currently travel to any of the 26 Schengen countries using only their passports. Starting in 2022, they will also need to register with the ETIAS.
The Schengen Area of Europe is an open-borders region.
The member states have one united visa policy for visitors from outside the bloc. All countries in Schengen maintain the same border control standards for flights arriving from third countries.
However, there are no border checks between member states. Once inside the Schengen Area, people are free to travel between all the different countries without having to stop at borders to show their passport, visa, or ETIAS authorization.
Schengen is closely associated with the European Union (EU) — the 2 organizations share many of the same member states. However, there is a difference.
Currently, only 22 out of 27 EU countries are also part of Schengen. 4 more EU states (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania) plan to join in the near future and already accept Schengen Visas for entry. The Republic of Ireland, on the other hand, maintains a separate visa policy and has not voiced any desire to join Schengen.
The Schengen Area also includes all 4 members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), bringing its total membership to 26 countries.
When the ETIAS is launched in 2022, it will be needed to visit all of these member states.
The 26 members of Schengen are as follows:
– The Czech Republic
The Schengen Area has a visa waiver list (known as “Annex II”) of countries whose citizens may currently enter without a visa.
Visitors from these countries are the ones who will need to register with ETIAS from 2022.
The Annex II countries and territories are:
– Antigua and Barbuda
– Bosnia and Herzegovina
– Costa Rica
– El Salvador
– Hong Kong
– The Marshall Islands
– New Zealand
– Saint Kitts and Nevis
– Saint Lucia
– Saint Vincent
– The Seychelles
– The Solomon Islands
– South Korea
– Timor Leste
– Trinidad and Tobago
– The United Arab Emirates
– The United Kingdom
– The United States of America
Registering with the ETIAS may be an additional requirement for visitors from these countries, but it is also a necessary one.
Travelers who apply for a visa must submit their details for security screening. However, visa-exempt passengers are not screened; they simply show their passports at border control and may be asked some questions about their trip.
By introducing the ETIAS, the Schengen Area aims to improve security for citizens, residents, and visitors alike. When travelers register, EU and EFTA border authorities will be able to screen all incoming passengers, identify security risks, and take the appropriate actions.
This will make traveling to Europe safer than ever before.
Visitors from Annex II countries will simply have to enter their details into the relevant fields of the online questionnaire. This will include basic personal, passport, and contact information. There may also be some questions about the planned journey and previous travel history.
The ETIAS system has not yet gone live, so it is currently unknown exactly what questions will appear.
However, it is known that the system is modeled on the ESTA — a similar system for visa-free travelers entering the United States.
The ESTA registration form is simple and quick to fill in, with applications taking minutes to complete and submit. It stands to reason that the ETIAS will be the same.
More details about the ETIAS are expected to become available closer to the launch date. It is unknown if the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will affect the introduction of the ETIAS. If Schengen countries still have entry restrictions in place for travelers arriving from certain countries, this may affect who can use the ETIAS initially.
However, it is expected that by the end of 2022, travel to Europe will be returning to normal and the ETIAS will be available on schedule.
For more information, visit https://www.etiasvisa.com.