A European vacation is about to get more complicated.
In 2016, the European Union proposed new travel restrictions for international travelers in order to better protect their borders. Schengen Area countries are European nations that allow open access without passports for travel within these areas. This even applied for international passports.
Therefore, in an effort to protect their borders from potential external dangers, the E.U. has just announced the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). This new specialty travel authorization will affect Canadian travelers starting in 2021.
ETIAS is not a Visa, per se, so don’t panic. You won’t need to go through a whole complicated process to go on your Euro-trip. ETIAS is billed as a Visa waiver program — an automated system that European agencies will use to track travelers and potential risks.
Every potential traveler must apply for the ETIAS travel authorization starting in 2021, minors included.
The application will be as simple as signing up for a new email account. The entire system is online and automated by a regulatory agency in Europe. Applicants will submit to a full background check and be placed in a database. You can expect a response in as little as 24-hours.
With this new development for European travel, there will also be more travel restrictions implemented for products like liquids, foodstuffs, and merchandise. Full details on restrictions will be announced as we get closer to 2021.
The application will cost 7 Euros or about $10.55 Canadian (as of 2019), making it super affordable compared to other international Visas. Once you apply, the ETIAS travel authorization will be valid for three years, allowing you unlimited access to Schengen Area countries during that time.
Access to other participating nations will be allowed only after you enter through the country you stated in your application. For example, according to the ETIAS website, “if you were planning to go through Germany, Belgium, and Austria, and you stated in your application that the first country you will visit is Germany, you must go through it before you visit Belgium and Austria. After you enter your first country, you can visit any other country in the Schengen Zone for 90 days.”
These new rules will not affect travel to the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, and Russia.
ETIAS will be fully operational by January 2021.
For full details and more information on what you can expect from ETIAS, visit their official website.