There are numerous countries that are not members of the European Union, but their citizens do not require a visa to enter the EU Schengen Zone. These visa-free countries are about 63 in total. Citizens from these visa-free countries can legally enter the Schengen Zone for travel or business purposes lasting not more than 90 days. During your 90-day stay, you can only engage in tourism and business activities, not study or work.
The rising security concerns with the migrant crisis and terrorism have called for better regulation of persons entering the EU borders. Thus, the European Union has often declared its aim of making travelling within its borders safe and secure. Therefore, the European Commission has developed ETIAS as a solution to address security concerns and reduce procedures and wait times. Continue scrolling to learn more about ETIAS.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System includes an electronic system enabling and tracking visitors from visa-free countries. An ETIAS somehow resembles the US Electronic System for Travel Authorization since they serve similar purposes.
It is important to note that not all EU member countries are members of the Schengen Zone. Thus, you will not need an ETIAS to enter these countries. The legal procedures to start the ETIAS operation began in 2016 and is expected to be completed by 2024. Any ETIAS applicant will undergo a detailed security check to determine whether they should enter any Schengen Area country. This ensures that the traveller is not a security threat to the Schengen Zone countries.
Apart from being used for tourist and business purposes, the ETIAS can also be used for transit or medical reasons. As long as you are going to enter a Schengen Zone country, you must apply for an ETIAS.
Application for ETIAS
Typically, an ETIAS application form takes about 10 minutes to complete. The process is done online, saving you time and the hassle of dealing with paperwork. Your country of citizenship influences the fields the application form will present to fill. Some of the information required includes your biometric and citizenship information.
Importance of ETIAS Authorization
According to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, security is the main reason behind the approval of an ETIAS authorization. The EU aims to ensure safe travel into its countries following the elevated risks of travellers globally. The ETIAS will significantly reduce security concerns through its data and information-gathering systems. Persons with suspicious data will be denied entry eliminating the threat of being present inside the EU borders. This system deals with a problem before it even develops.
Nevertheless, ETIAS has more to just ensuring a more secure travelling space. Here are more ways this authorization will help EU travellers and countries:
- Curb irregular migration
- Improve the management of European Union country borders
- Reinforce the visa liberalization policy of the European Union
- Help in the early detection and reducing terrorism and crimes
- Significantly reduce application times and procedures
In conclusion, the ETIAS authorization will make visiting the European Union a much safer and less hassle experience.