ETIAS is a new program being developed in Europe to match the ESTA. This European Travel Information and Authorization Scheme (ETIAS) is set to be fully effective in 2020. It refers to a new visa waiver program for travelers to Europe with the objective of better controlling immigration into the free-roaming Schengen area.
In 2016 the European Commission officially announced the proposal of the European travel authorization program as “an automated system to determine who will be allowed to travel to Europe”. – President Jean-Claude Juncker.
ETIAS aims to help European authorities improve the pre-screening process for travelers to Europe from all over the world. The purpose of the ETIAS visa is to strengthen the borders of Europe by regulating the influx of travelers more meticulously with the intention of avoiding extra security and health threats.
The ETIAS visa waiver will cover all Schengen area European Union countries.
Travelers’ information will be cross-checked against European databases such as Interpol, SIS, VIS, Europol etc. and submitted to further security controls to determine if there is a basis for refusing entry, before being granted permission to travel to Europe and finally entered into the EES (Entry/Exit System) when traveling.
Currently citizens of countries such as the USA, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Japan amongst others will be eligible to quickly and easily apply online for an ETIAS visa for EU. ETIAS is being programed to be available for citizens of 60 different countries, however authorities are in the process of including more.
For travelers from eligible countries, it will be necessary to complete an online ETIAS application form with personal details, data from the applicant’s travel documents and he/she will also have to answer some basic security questions.
The online application form for a European visa may take up to 10 minutes to complete and will be easy to access online for all those who meet the eligibility requirements.
The current cost for the ETIAS visa is set at 5€ for all applicants over 18 years old and can be paid for at the time of application. At this time applying for children or adolescents will be free.
There are several differences between ETIAS, ESTA and EVUS, its North American counterparts, which can be found detailed below:
The Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA) issued by the Government of the United States of America for the 39 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries and the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) issued by the American Customs and Border Control Protection for citizens of the People’s Republic of China holding a 10-year B1 or B2 Visa are two different initiatives permitting travel authorization to the US with similar aspects to the European ETIAS visa waiver program.
If you want more information about EVUS, visit the website www.evus.us
Both ESTA and EVUS are US travel authorization programs targeting different audiences with a validity of two years for eligible applicants whereas the ETIAS is valid for 5 years once approved. The two visa waivers, ESTA and ETIAS, and the visa update system EVUS for Chinese nationals allow multiple entries during their validity.
EVUS requires applicants to previously hold a B1 or B2 (or combined B1/B2) visa for the US before being granted permission to update their information via this system, however the ESTA and ETIAS programs apply only to those citizens from countries who are eligible to travel without a visa.
More information about ETIAS and any other European travel visas will become available closer to the launch date in 2020.