ETIAS - Benefits of the Visa Waiver Compared to a Visa

By dev_ln on Tue, 09/01/2020 - 07:25


If you plan to travel through the Schengen Area, beginning in 2023, consider the new alternative to applying for a traditional visa. A program called “ETIAS” offers access to 26 European countries without a visa. ETIAS is the acronym for European Travel Information and Authorization System. The system is expected to be implemented in early 2023. The program is in part designed to offer a visa waiver for eligible travelers who will be visiting any or all Schengen zone countries in Europe. Once it become effective, the visa waiver or a visa will be required for leisure and most business trave.

What is ETIAS Travel Visa Waiver?

At  we overview the program:

“The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is a program designed for nationals of countries, such as the United States, who are not required to acquire a visa to visit Europe. United States citizens will be able to enter any of the 26 European countries included in the Schengen Travel Area using an ETIAS Visa Travel Waiver instead of a traditional European visa. Applying for a traditional travel visa is time-consuming and can feel daunting. The good news is, if you are traveling to Europe for 90 days or less within a 180-day period, you can apply for ETIAS Visa Travel Waiver online.”

Read on to explore the benefits of ETIAS compared to a visa.

ETIAS makes travel through Europe more convenient

ETIAS is a stress-free and comparably simple authorization for traveling through the 26 countries  that comprise the Schengen Area. As long as your travel plans are short-term―with a flex 90-day limit―you will find ETIAS is a beneficial option compared to a traditional visa. The ETIAS visa waiver is designed for eligible travelers from 60 countries including the United States venturing to Europe beginning in 2023. Its 3 year validity period, and completely digital application and approval makes it so convenient compared to the process for obtaining a traditional visa.

Rely on the online visa waiver for your travel to pass through the two dozen European countries that have removed internal border controls. The majority of the Schengen Area countries are within the European Union (EU). However, some of the participating nations are associate members. Examples of such associate members include Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland.

You are likely eligible – US citizens can use the ETIAS Visa Waiver

To apply for an ETIAS, a traveler must be a recognized citizen of one of the 60+ countries eligible for ETIAS such as the United States. The concept is new to Americans who are used to European travel with only a passport required. Beginning in 2023 a US passport alone will not be sufficient for entry into the Schengen Area. Due to the need for more secure borders and increased security in the region, the visa waiver program (VWP) under the European Travel Information and Authorization System is becoming effective. Are you eligible?

Learn about your ETIAS eligibility

 Visit Spain with the ETIAS

The ETIAS application process is convenient and quick

Whether you are looking to visit Europe for business purposes, tourism, educational opportunities, or a conference, ETIAS is favorable compared to a visa. You can apply for authorization online in surprisingly little time. Once your application is approved, you will be able to visit Schengen Area countries freely for up to 90 days during any 180-day period. This is a wonderful way to check out the beauty of Greece, take the train through the stunning French countryside, hop on a flight to Iceland, all during the same trip, to savor Europe as it was meant to be experienced. The ETIAS visa waiver  empowers you to travel through Europe’s Schengen Zone without having to acquire a visa.  

The challenges of applying for a visa

The application process for a visa takes a significant amount of time, costs a considerable sum of money, and requires visits to an embassy or consulate for interviews and vetting. Keep in mind these visits are not only stressful, they can be costly and quite time consuming. The ease of the ETIAS approval process is quite appealing considering the comparably strenuous process necessary to obtain a visa.

The visa application process necessitates not only the web-based visa application, but also a significant amount of time commitment for the required in-person interview at a consulate of the first country listed on your itinerary. In contrast, the application process for the VWP is 100% online. The ETIAS application can be completed from the comfort of your home. In fact, your ETIAS application might even be approved in mere minutes after it is submitted. At most, it is expected is 3-4 days to receive digital authorization. Alternatively, a conventional visa approval takes upwards of two weeks to receive a response.

Comparison of the application process requirements for ETIAS vs VISA

To apply for the visa waiver online, you will need only a valid passport along with a completed application and debit/credit card for payment. A visa conversely requires comparably more: a valid passport, an application, and numerous extra documents determined by the type of visa you apply for. The visa process includes a requirement for a cover letter that details the purpose of the upcoming trip, a comprehensive itinerary, proof of accommodation, proof of temporary travel medical insurance, proof of paid visa fees, and travel insurance.

Completing the digital ETIAS application requires less than half an hour from the comfort of your own home. Approval is granted for about 95% of all ETIAS applicants. If the automated online process can not approve an application for any reason, it will be processed manually. Done from home this is a smooth, quick, and easy process compared to that required of a traditional visa.

Additional benefits of ETIAS compared to a Visa for Schengen Travel

The ETIAS program is new so there is a general misconception that it is just another form of the traditional visa. In reality, this new visa waiver program is actually quite different from the conventional visa. As long as you intend on traveling 90 days or less within any of 180-day period, it is most beneficial obtain this upcoming visa waiver rather than a tourist or business visa.


Approved reasons for visa-free travel

The waiver for EU travel is an authorization for specific travel purposes. Tourism and leisure travel, medical procedures, business meetings, and conferences are authorized purposes of visa-free travel. Alternatively, if you will be working for a business in one of the Schengen Area nations long-term, or studying abroad, obtaining a visa will be required.

Once you have ETIAS authorization, it will be valid for three years or until your United Sates passport expires, whichever comes first. Beginning in 2023 the new European Travel Information and Authorization System will be in effect. Its purpose of protecting borders and mitigating illegal migration may be the primary aim, but its convenience for American tourists and business travelers is a most welcome feature.

Check out our complete guide to the ETIAS travel waiver to learn more.

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