Earlier today, we broke the news that European countries in the Schengen Zone would soon require residents in over sixty countries to apply for special authorization to visit. The "Schengen Zone" refers to a collection of countries in the E.U. that have eliminated customs control. Residents of those countries can move freely between them without stopping at a border checkpoint.
Visitors to the Zone would need only to pass through customs when they first enter one of the member countries. Currently, Canadian and American passport holders, for example, can easily travel to countries within the Schengen Zone without a visa. But as the EU aims to secure its borders amid security concerns, travel will soon not be so straightforward.
Starting in 2021, Canadians will need to apply for special authorization through the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). This authorization is not a visa, despite initial reports.
Here's everything you need to know about the new authorizations.
TL;DR Amidst many reports and questions, we bring you a recap of everything you need to know about the new ETIAS travel authorization to Europe.
Why Do I Need ETIAS Travel Authorization?
Simply enough: security. The European Union has perceived travel risks in the past few years and is, therefore, regulating entry into their countries. ETIAS can detect whether a person is a security risk, thereby flagging them and preventing entry into Schengen Zone countries. If you aren't a security risk, you have nothing to worry about.
Okay, I get it! How Do I Apply?
You can start applying for ETIAS travel authorization starting in January 2021. The application will take about 10 minutes and cost you around $10-11 dollars or 7 Euro.
You will need to provide your full legal information (name, age, date of birth, etc), citizenship information (address, employment status, etc), a reason for visit, which country you intend to visit, and finally, submit to a full background check regarding your medical condition and criminal history. Minors will need to apply with a legal parent or guardian. If you already have family that resides in the E.U., you will need to give them that information as well.
Will My Information Be Stored?
Yes, obviously. ETIAS will have a database of every applicant's info. This information is readily available to any government institution, regardless, so don't worry about your security. Remember, if you have a Facebook account, your information is out there, folks.
How Long Is The ETIAS Eligible For?
Three years, then you will need to renew it. You also need to be sure to enter the Schengen Zone through the country you state 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."
Will I Need To Apply For the ETIAS Travel Authorization If I Already Have A Schengen Passport/Visa?
Nope! If you're already a resident or citizen of a Schengen Zone country, you won't need to apply for the ETIAS to travel within Europe, even if you've been living elsewhere as a student, for example.
Can My Application Be Denied?
Technically, yes, but only if they have a reason. You won't arbitrarily be denied based on where you live, for example. Criminal records, flight risks, or medical risks could be reasons that authorities will deny an application. Otherwise, you should be okay if you aren't a danger to society.
How Long Do I Have To Wait To Get My ETIAS Authorization?
Applicants will get a response within 24-hours after application so you won't have to wait that long to plan your trip!
So, I Got Approved And I'm On My Way To The Airport, Now What?
Thankfully, you won't need any additional documentation as most new passports have access to your digital I.D. so that customs agents can instantly check out your authorization on their computer.
I Think I Got Some Information Wrong On My Application, Am I In Trouble?
Unfortunately, if you don't fix the mistake ASAP, the European Union will revoke your ETIAS authorization. ETIAS can also be revoked if you've violated international law or travel rules. So, if you got arrested in Germany for public intoxication, say goodbye to your travel authorization.
Will I Be On A Watchlist?
Everyone who applies for ETIAS will be placed in a general database, but you'll only be watchlisted if you commit any crimes or are already deemed a security threat according to intelligence agencies.
When Is This Happening?
ETIAS will be implemented January 2021 orearlier, pending an official decision about the start date from the European Union.
Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.
To get a full review of this information, check out the official ETIAS website here.