European travel waiver for the Schengen Area ETIAS

On July 5th, the European Parliament has given its final agreement to implement the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, ETIAS. European authorities have decided to establish the electronic visa waiver system in the year 2021 to improve security across the Schengen Area.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), ETIAS is an important first step in the “digitalization of travel.” The end goal is the use of biometric technology – think fingerprints and facial recognition – to help provide the ultimate in security. The European Union (EU) agency driving this digital initiative is eu-LISA, the European Agency for the Operational Management of Large Scale IT Systems. It’s the very first EU agency established for the sole purpose of border and migration policies. Since it began operations in 2012, eu-LISA has been moving toward an all-digital, interoperable system so every key EU agency can get critical information to people on the front lines, such as border control and police.

Approved ETIAS applicants can travel in and between countries in the Schengen Area, for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Qualifying travel purposes include tourism, short-term business reasons such as a conference or client meeting, short-term education such as an internship, and medical procedures. ETIAS approval is valid for 3 years with no travel limit, as long as the traveler has a passport not expiring for 90 days from the day of arrival abroad. However, your ETIAS expires when your passport does.

ETIAS, the European Travel Information System, provides qualifying visitors a visa waiver when traveling to the Schengen Area, a group of European countries that have agreed upon who can visit and how long they can stay. The Schengen Area was created by the European Union, or EU, in the spirit of harmonious and free travel between borders and has grown to 26 countries – most are in the EU but some are not. Given the influx of international travelers to the Schengen Area, more comprehensive security checks have had to be put in place. ETIAS, much like ESTA in the United States, will create centralized data on who is visiting and why, providing enhanced security for all.

The main reason for the approval of the ETIAS authorization is security. With the increased risk of travelers worldwide, the EU wants to ensure safe travels in its countries. The ETIAS will decrease security concerns substantially through its information and data gathering systems. What this means, is that the ETIAS will detect if a person is a threat in any way to the security of Schengen countries. This will lead to the person being denied entry and avoiding the threat from being present inside EU borders. It will basically deal with a problem before it is even there.

You may be asked a range of questions including some about your occupation. This is no cause for alarm, it helps customs agents be certain you’re not seeking to work illegally or migrate unlawfully. ETIAS will get you to the border of a country, but it does not guarantee entry. Customs agents have the final authority as to whether or not you can enter an ETIAS participating country. Read extra details on ETIAS Visa.