For U.S. Citizens, ETIAS is the most convenient way to travel to Europe!
The countdown is on to ETIAS, the European Travel Information and Authorization System. Set to launch in 18 short months, in January 2021, ETIAS is a visa-waiver program allowing travel to the European Union (E.U.) without a European visa. All U.S. Citizens traveling to any of Europe's Schengen Area countries (for no more than 90 days) can apply for ETIAS visa waiver approval for all eligible tourist travel. Presently Americans traveling to The Schengen Zone can do so with just a U.S. passport for short stays. When the ETIAS system has activated the ability to travel to Europe's Schengen Travel Zone with only a passport will change.
For most tourist travel and some short business/medical travel, the European visa travel waiver, ETIAS, will be a convenient alternative to a traditional Europe tourist visa. The idea of being able to travel visa-free is highly appealing. It means no expensive trips to embassies or consulates, no protracted interview process, and no stress waiting and worrying about approval. Also appealing to U.S. travelers is the ETIAS travel waiver is an entirely digital, online process with approval with in 24 hours or less. Moreover, once a traveler is approved for their ETIAS visa waiver, it is effective immediately and is valid for up t 90 days of travel during any 180-day timeframe. The ETIAS is valid for three years or whenever the traveler's passport expires, whichever comes first.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System is designed to collect data about all foreign travelers entering the Schengen region—who can legally travel without a traditional visa—for a new centralized database. ETIAS will be a digital online system with a primary purpose of securing Europe's borders.
Applications will be completed and submitted entirely online, and approvals will be confirmed via email. The requirements for U.S. citizens to submit an ETIAS application include the traveler having a valid passport and email account, along with credit or debit card for processing. The application is designed to gather relevant information about each traveler to supply the ETIAS and other shared security databases to assess any potential risks to border security or of illegal migration.
ETIAS is not a visa; it is a visa waiver, so once a traveler is approved, they can travel to the E.U. visa-free. Approved ETIAS travel to the Schengen Zone, for 90 days or less, includes for tourism, some business (like meetings or conferences) and medical treatment. ETIAS allows for travel to any of the 26 countries within the Schengen Area.
U.S. citizens and Non-EU Nationals from approximately 60 countries who wish to travel to Europe beginning in January 2021 will be required to obtain ETIAS approval for visa-free travel. Without the ETIAS, travelers will need to go through the European Visa application process. Securing at ETIAS will be a significantly more convenient option.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System was drafted by the European Council and approved by the European Parliament in 2016. With its critical mandate of securing the borders of the 26 Schengen Area countries to ensure a safer Europe, it is considered a welcome and timely program. U.S. travelers will be eyeing the calendar as the countdown to its launch inches closer. As the anticipated launch date of January 1, 2021 approaches, Etias-Europe.us will keep you updated.