If you’re in the process of booking your dream vacation to Italy, France, or Spain you will soon need to fill out a short online application known as ETIAS, or European Travel Information and Authorization System. Starting in May 2023, an approved ETIAS application will be required for short-term travel (defined as 90 days or less) to any of the 27 countries located in what is known as Europe’s Schengen Area. The countries in the Schengen Area focus on external borders instead of internal borders so that residents and travelers may move freely without restriction.
What Exactly is ETIAS?
The European Travel Information and Authorization System is a security program that conducts background checks to prevent people who could pose a criminal, immigration, or health threat to Europe’s external borders from entering the Schengen Area. The ETIAS application asks basic questions about one’s criminal background (or lack thereof), health, occupation, education, passport status, travel itinerary, and identifying information such as height, weight, and gender.
Who Needs to Apply for ETIAS?
Beginning in May 2023, travelers from 60 countries such as Canada, the United States, and Japan will be required to fill out an ETIAS application form in order to gain entry into the Schengen Area. If you’re planning to travel to Europe it is a good idea to complete an ETIAS application as soon as your travel plans are finalized.
How to Apply for ETIAS
Filling out any type of application related to travel can be mighty intimidating, but thankfully the ETIAS application is relatively fast and simple. Travelers can find the ETIAS application online. The ETIAS application generally takes about 20 minutes to complete. The ETIAS application will be fast and smooth if you have your passport, travel itinerary, and any information related to a documented criminal conviction at your disposal. The ETIAS does have a 7 Euro application fee. Applicants under the age of 18 and over the age of 70 can fill out the application for free.
How Lengthy is the ETIAS Approval Process?
The good news is that most ETIAS applications are approved within minutes of being submitted. Once approved, an ETIAS application is good for 3 years. If your passport expires prior to the ETIAS expiration, you will have to fill out a second ETIAS application. Your ETIAS application should be approved 96 hours before you depart for your trip.
What if an ETIAS Application is Denied?
If your ETIAS application is denied, never fear—there is a good chance that you will still be able to travel to Europe. Depending on the time frame, your trip may be slightly delayed. If your ETIAS application hits a snag you will have to apply for a traditional visa which is a bit more involved than a simple online ETIAS application. Over 95% of ETIAS applications are approved instantly, so there is a good chance that you won’t have to bother with a lengthy visa application.
Filling out an ETIAS application may seem overwhelming, but thankfully the process is relatively fast, simple, and affordable. Don’t let jitters about filling out an ETIAS application stand between you and your dream vacation.