As if there wasn’t enough red tape to make going on a trip complicated, now you will have to register with the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) if you’re thinking about traveling to Europe after January 1, 2021.
This will apply to all 26 countries in the Schengen Zone EU. But, before you start cursing that it’s just another annoyance to undertake as a traveler, here’s the reasoning behind it.
The EU believes it’s a way to protect travelers from possible terrorist threats. In addition, it will reduce paperwork and long wait-times, improve management of EU borders, make it easier to identify possible terrorists and criminal activity, stop illegal migration, and continue the no-visa policy of Schengen-Zone countries.
Rather than making trip planning more complicated, it promises to make it safer and more efficient.
The ETIAS is different than a visa
You’ll still be able to visit EU countries that don’t require a visa but will have to be authorized by ETIAS to travel there before you arrive.
Below are the countries that will require authorization when you’re traveling in Europe.
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
- Vatican City
Other countries who are in the process of joining the Schengen Zone include:
Countries in Europe that don’t require registration are:
How much time should you allow for the process to complete?
Three cheers for the Internet because you can apply online for ETIAS authorization in minutes. Make sure you have a valid passport, email address, and a debit or credit card as there is a non-refundable application fee. You will be asked questions that pertain to security and your health.
Approval only takes a few hours but know that you’ll be scrutinized on Interpol and Europol – just in case you’ve been a practicing James Bond or Matahari. If you’re bringing your grandchildren along, kids aren’t charged an application fee.
The length of time your ETIAS will be in force
Once you obtain ETIAS authorization it won’t expire for 3 years – or until your passport does. (whichever comes first) It will remain valid as long as you’re traveling in Europe for no more than 90 days. If you make frequent trips to the EU, you can re-enter whenever you like as long as your ETIAS is active. But if you plan to work or live in the Schengen Zone for longer than 90 days, a visa will be required.
Residents outside of the US will also be required to register. For a list of countries that require authorization and more detailed information about ETIAS itself, click here.
Make sure to put ETIAS Authorisation on your to-do list if a trip to Europe is in your plans after 2021.