From 2021 the new European travel waiver is going into effect, and it is called ETIAS, the European Travel Information System, and it is going to replace the old Schengen Visa which is needed if you want to visit the group of 26 European countries that have no internal borders and where you are free to travel from one country to another.
No need to panic, this is going to be a much easier way to travel, and a much easier procedure to get approval to visit the Schengen group for 90 days within a 180-day period. This is especially good news for business trips and tourists, because the procedure is fast (really fast, as you get approval right away), and you can do it from the comfort of your home or favorite coffee shop, because you don’t need to go to an interview at the embassy, saving you both time and money of course.
The fine ladies and gentlemen from etia.com have prepared a very informational website that can answer all your questions regarding everything needed for you to apply and get the needed Europe Visa to travel freely throughout all Schengen group. All you need to do is grab your passport, valid credit or debit card (to confirm your identity), fill the form at the website, and it usually takes minutes to get approval. Compared to traditional visa, where you also need the passport, going to the embassy or consulate, fill out a ton of paper, wait for a minimum of 14 days, sometime way more, ETIAS seems like a walk in the park, wall, much easier actually. It is all online, typing necessary info, press send and wait for it. In 95 % you will be approved in a matter of minutes, but the longest time to wait (if you are unlucky and in the 5 %) is 4 days, so if you are in a hurry to travel, apply earlier, just in case! Simple, isn’t it!
Bear in mind that if you want to apply for an ETIAS, you need to come from one of the 61 ETIA eligible countries, which includes US also, however, if you are resident of Great Britain or Northern Ireland you have to wait a bit, because of the Brexit procedure which is not yet completed, but surely soon you will find info on the website on whether you should or should not apply. Perhaps the easiest way is to sign up for the ETIAS newsletter and you will receive in time all the new information regarding all changes and updates of the system.
The Schengen group includes the following countries:
- The Azores
- Canary Islands
- Czech Republic
It excludes some EU countries, mostly relatively new members such as Romania, Croatia, Cyprus and Bulgaria; however, they are on the list of waiting for ETIAS participation approval and will most likely be part of the system very soon.
Also, you have to have a qualifying reason to apply for ETIAS waiver, like tourism, short-term business reason, educational reason like an internship, and of course medical reasons. Unfortunately for any other reason other than the ones mentioned you still have to apply for Schengen visa. The validity of the waiver is three years without any travel limit, or until your passport expires, whichever one expires first!
The best feature on the website is the soon to be finished live chat support where you will get the best-quality customer support. If you are having a lazy day and do not wish to bother reading through the website about various demands for the application, you can always bother the nice people from live chat customer support who will give all the answers to all your questions and help you with the whole application process.
And again, no need to panic, this is just an improvement to the existing Schengen visa process, because of the increased travelers visit the Schengen group of countries more comprehensive security checks are needed, but again less time now is needed to show that you are not a security issue. Bon voyage!