ETIAS: FAQs at a Glance
|Is ETIAS a visa?
|No, it's not a visa.
|Do I need to apply for ETIAS now?
|No, the start date for ETIAS is still unknown, and you can apply for it anytime before arriving in Europe.
|How long does it take to apply?
|When needed, you can apply online in just a few minutes, and you'll receive your documentation almost immediately.
|Can I still book my trip to Europe?
|Yes! Go ahead and book your trip now, as you can apply for ETIAS later and receive it on the same day you apply (there's also a grace period).
|Do I need to worry about ETIAS?
|No. ETIAS is a simple application process that requires a small fee and a few minutes of your time and is valid for three years.
Going Deeper: What is ETIAS?
ETIAS stands for the European Travel Information and Authorization System, a travel security program that conducts background checks on those entering the European Union. According to the ETIAS website, the intention is "to improve the security of EU member states," specifically within the Schengen region, the world's largest free travel area.
Beginning in 2025, those from visa-exempt countries must apply for an ETIAS document to enter the European Union. The ETIAS documentation is an electronic visa waiver, meaning you don't have to get a visa to travel to these countries. However, if for some reason you're unable to get this documentation or don't qualify for it, you still have the option of getting a Schengen visa to visit.
Who is Affected by ETIAS?
You don't need to use this authorization form if you have an EU passport. The new ETIAS requirement applies to the following:
- Those who are not European Union nationals
- Citizens of countries where you don't need a visa for a short-term stay in an EU country. This includes the US and the UK. In other words, if you've never had to get a visa to travel to one of the countries participating in this program, you'll now have to get ETIAS documentation.
- Those who don't have residence cards or permits from any of the countries requiring ETIAS authorization
More specifically, citizens from the following countries will now need an ETIAS authorization to travel to Europe:
|Saint Vincent & Grenadines
|Antigua & Barbuda
|United Arab Emirates
|Bosnia & Herzegovina
|Saint Kitts & Nevis
|Trinidad & Tobago
Visit the ETIAS website for more information about who requires this documentation.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What Countries Will Require an ETIAS Document?
Participating countries primarily share a border and are part of the Schengen Agreement. The 27 members of the Schengen Zone don't require passports to travel across borders, so the ETIAS document is an extra security measure in these passport-free zones. Three non-Schengen countries—Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania—are also participating.
What Will You Need to Travel to Europe?
For trips shorter than 90 days, you'll need to apply for travel authorization via the ETIAS website. The application form will become available as the start date nears. You can sign up for email notifications if you'd like to know when the application officially opens.
The application has a fee of €7, which doesn't apply to travelers under 18 or over 70. The fee can only be paid via debit or credit card, and the application will be approved within minutes of submitting it. Once you get the ETIAS documentation, it's valid for three consecutive years. However, remember that you can only stay in a participating country for 90 days within any 180-day period.
Traveling to these countries requires your passport, ETIAS authorization, and other country-specific documentation. The ETIAS authorization is linked to your passport, so if you have to renew or replace your passport at some point during the three-year period that this document is valid, you'll have to reapply to ETIAS.
What Questions Are on the ETIAS Application?
You'll have to submit basic personal details to establish your identity, such as:
- Valid passport / Travel document information
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Current address
- Citizenship status
- Dual citizenship status
- Preferred gender
- Email address
- Telephone number
- Educational background
- Occupational background
- Final destination member state
According to the ETIAS website, the program is intended "to identify potential security risks entering Europe's external borders," so during the application or appeal process, you may be asked about your:
- Criminal history
- Past incarceration
- Felon status
- Past European travel
- Drug use
- Health history
What's the Difference Between ETIAS & a Schengen Visa?
The ETIAS and Schengen Visa have a similar function in that they both deal with entry into the European continent. However, the ETIAS is a visa waiver with different restrictions than a Schengen Visa. Be sure to check which one of these documents your country requires, which you can do on the ETIAS website here.
- This applies to those from countries that can currently enter the EU without a visa.
- It's an electronic travel waiver and authorization.
- It allows you to enter and move freely within the EU for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.
- It's valid for three years.
- This applies to countries that are NOT eligible for the ETIAS application.
- It's a physical document that must be added to your passport.
- It's issued for one specific country within the Schengen Area and is valid for up to 90 days.
- It's valid for single-entry, double-entry, or multiple-entry, depending on the type of visa you obtain.
When Will ETIAS Begin?
The program will begin in 2025, although the official start date remains unknown. Once initiated, travelers who can enter these countries will have a six-month grace period without the ETIAS documentation. That extra padding of time will also allow travel authorities to work out kinks in the system and ensure that things run smoothly. However, once that 180-day grace period ends, all visa-exempt citizens will need to apply for the ETIAS.