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Applying for the ETIAS Visa Waiver: Everything You Need to Know

Anyone who has travelled to the US in recent years using the ESTA visa will already know roughly what to expect when applying for Europe’s new equivalent.

Delayed due to the global travel citation, the ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is now scheduled to launch on January 1st 2022 (subject to change) and applies to anyone entitled to visa-free access to the EU and Schengen member countries. 

The ETIAS can be used for tourism, transit, and business travel and one application will entitle you to travel within the participating EU countries until it expires (after three years) or your passport needs replacing. It can be used for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day period. 

Note: this 90 days is not three full months which is a common misconception people have had while using the visa-free travel within the Schengen zone.

As is typical for visa waivers and tourist visas, you’re not technically permitted to study or work at all while using the ETIAS, though many digital nomads do. 

If you’re a remote worker hoping to spend time working online while based in the EU, then it’s worth discussing your options with your company or considering the EU remote work visas which have been specifically set up with this in mind. A type D Schengen long-stay visa may also be more suited to you.

We’re going to keep you updated with everything you need to know about this new process, share the resources where you can find more information on the ETIAS and, eventually, apply.

travelling-europe-visa-free etias

Read More: How to Travel Through the Schengen Zone Visa Free.

When will I need to apply for the ETIAS visa?

You will need to apply online before you travel, and then wait for your confirmation to come through. It’s advised that you don’t book your flights or accommodation until you have this confirmation though it’s unlikely you’ll be rejected if you have had no trouble with travelling to the EU before, are entitled to the visa waiver, and haven’t committed any relevant offences.

You should receive your results within minutes of submitting your application. However, it can take a few days if extra documentation is needed.

When you arrive a border control, a final decision will be made based on the information submitted and on inspection of your documentation. This will apply wether you’re travelling by land, air, or sea.

Points of note: 

  • Current exceptions include if you’re arriving into the Schengen area or ETIAS country by rail or private car, and coach which will be enforced but not until three years after the ETIAS has launched. Though, it may be easier to just apply if you’re worried about being questioned.
  • You can still apply for the ETIAS if you have a criminal record and if denied on this basis then you are permitted to appeal.
  • If you are denied for an ETIAS, you can still apply for a full visitor visa

Who needs to apply for the ETIAS?

The full list of countries (approximately sixty and constantly being updated) who are entitled to apply for the ETIAS can be found here. This includes those from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and now the UK following the Brexit transition. If you are a resident of an EU country but not a citizen, you will still need to apply for the ETIAS.

You do not need to apply for the ETIAS if:

  • You’re a dual national who owns a passport to an EU country or an EU citizen
  • You’re not from one of the participating countries linked to above. If not, you will likely need to apply for a Schengen visa from the appropriate embassy or refer to other agreements between your country and the EU

How much does it cost and what information will I need to share?

The ETIAS will cost €7 for anyone between the ages of 18-70 and is free for anyone over or under that age bracket. The amount is payable online with a credit or debit card and will take you around twenty minutes to fill out the application form.

Note: You will need your passport (machine-readable/ electronic) to complete the application.

You will be asked to provide typical information including your full name and other personal details, passport information, email address, permanent address, education and occupation information, and health-related questions. You will also be asked which country you will be arriving in.

What is the ETIAS hoping to achieve?

You may be wondering, with visa-free travel and Schengen visas already established, why launch this program now? It essentially boils down to additional revenue and security and is largely modelled after the ESTA which was started for the same reason. This will create a central data repository of people travelling in and out of the Schengen and a new revenue stream for the EU. 

While very little will change for people already able to travel this area freely, it’s good to be prepared and ready to apply when the time comes.

Read More: The Best Asia Visas for Remote Workers (and how to apply)

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