ETIAS and Schengen Travel Zone FAQs
What is ETIAS?
The meaning of the acronym ETIAS is European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a digital visa waiver which permits travel to most countries in Europe.
Do U.S. citizens need an ETIAS to travel to Europe?
Yes, beginning on January 1, 2021, U.S. citizens, along with citizens of more than 60 other ETIAS-eligible countries, will need to apply for and be approved for the ETIAS travel authorization.
What/where is the Schengen Travel Zone?
The Schengen Travel Zone, or the Schengen Area is comprised of 26 countries most of which are part of the European Union, EU).
Which EU countries are included Schengen Travel Zone?
Included are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Additionally, the microstates of Monaca, San Marino, and the Vatican are also included in the Schengen Area.
Which countries in the European Union are NOT part of the Schengen Zone?
Presently the United Kingdom and Ireland, (aka Éire) are not participating in the ETIAS program. Countries with pending approval for inclusion the Schengen Zone include Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania. Updates to the list of countries will be added here as the information becomes available.
What is the meaning of EU?
EU is the abbreviation for European Union.
What countries are in the UK?
Four countries make up the United Kingdom. They are England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.
Do I need an ETIAS if I am just traveling to one country, like France, in Europe or the Schengen Zone?
U.S. citizens require an ETIAS visa waiver in order to visit one, or more, countries.
Do children need an ETIAS
Yes, each traveler, of any age, will require their own approved ETIAS in order to travel to any countries of the Schengen Zone in Europe.
If I have my ETIAS approval do I still need a passport?
Yes, you do. ETIAS approval will be digitally connected to your passport. It is essential that the two consist of correct and matching information.
I am traveling for tourism. Do I need ETIAS?
Yes. For travel up to 90 days within a 180-day period ETIAS is the travel approval, required beginning on January 1, 2021. As long as travel is for approve purpose an ETIAS visa waiver eliminates the need for visits to and interviews with consulates and embassies.
Do I need ETIAS for business travel?
ETIAS approval is meant for limited kinds of business travel only, such as a client meeting, or to attend a workshop or conference. It does not replace any required work visas for employment at businesses within the Schengen Zone.
What are the documents required to make an ETIAS application?
You will need a valid U.S. passport, a valid email, and a valid debit or credit card.
How long is an ETIAS approval valid?
An ETIAS approval is valid for three years. If your passport expires within those 3 years you will need to renew your passport and reapply for an ETIAS authorization for further to travel again to the Schengen Zone.
Is it okay to use an expired passport?
No. Passports must be valid for a minimum 6 months at the time you complete your application. Passports must be valid for a minimum of 90 days from the first day of your travel to the Schengen Area.
When should I apply for ETIAS?
You can apply for your ETIAS authorization well in advance of your planned travel to the Schengen Area. ETIAS approval, once received, will be valid for a period of 3 consecutive years. At a minimum you should apply for your ETIAS at least 5 days before your departure. The ETIAS system is expected the be activated effective January 1, 2021.
How long will it take for ETIAS approval once I apply?
Responses should be received virtually instantly and almost always on the same day. In some instances, approval may take up to 4 days.
Is an ETIAS the same as visa?
No. ETIAS is a visa waiver so you will not be required to obtain a visa, nor will you need to visit the embassy, or consulate of the countries you plan to visit in the Schengen Area.
Does obtaining ETIAS approval guarantee entry into Schengen Area countries?
Your ETIAS approval authorizes your travel to Schengen area countries. While the ultimate decision is made by customs agents, the ETIAS travel authorization is intended so approved travelers may move freely throughout the countries in the Schengen Travel Zone. However occasional security checks may still occur. ETIAS approval does not guarantee entry to any country.
What if my ETIAS application is denied?
If your ETIAS application is denied, you will receive email notification with the reason. You may be provided a chance to appeal or you may need to apply for a visa for each country you wish to visit.