ETIAS is an abbreviation for the European Travel Information System. It represents an agreement among several different European countries to waive visas for visitors who need to visit any of the participating countries.
The countries under this ETIAS occupy a mapped area called the Schengen region (see here for more info on the Schengen area). ETIAS is organized by the European Union; however, it is important to note that the Schengen area is not the European Union. Since the formation of the Schengen region, more countries have joined, currently; there are twenty-six countries in the Schengen area.
The ETIAS is part of an organised arrangement which is used to control and manage the entry and exit of visitors in the Schengen area. Particularly, it forms the basis on which entry and the number of days a visitor can stay in any country within this region is determined.
Why is There an ETIAS?
The ETIAS was formed for many reasons, most of which are mutually beneficial for visitors and the countries they have chosen to visit.
Some of the reasons for the ETIAS are as follows…
Free Movement Within the Schengen Area
Tourists and other visitors who have been granted the ETIAS visa waiver can visit any of the countries in the Schengen region without having to secure an entry visa.
Monitoring the Borders
The data generated from the ETIAS is used to monitor the entry and exit of visitors within the Schengen region, according to https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/focus/etias-what-it-means-for-travellers-what-it-means-for-frontex-deC5mZ. This data helps countries to make adequate plans to accommodate the influx of visitors using estimated data from the system to determine the expected number of visitors annually. ETIAS is also crucial for security checks across borders.
Length of Stay
The ETIAS is also used to specify the duration of stay for every visitor. This is usually between 90 days to 180 days. Within this period, visitors can tour the countries in the Schengen region freely.
Who Can Be Granted an ETIAS Waiver?
The ETIAS is available to tourists, business executives, entrepreneurs, and students/professionals who seek short-term internship/educational opportunities or to attend conferences. Also, people who need to seek special medical attention in any of the Schengen countries can apply for the ETIAS waiver.
The ETIAS has a validity of three years. During this time, beneficiaries can travel to any of the participating countries freely.
Factors that can disqualify applicants from being granted ETIAS include;
Errors in Application
It is important that applicants carefully complete application forms. All applications for the ETIAS waiver are carefully scrutinised for errors, which can delay approval or lead to disqualification.
Applicants who present incorrect information in their applications for ETIAS visa waivers will be disqualified. The severity of the situation will determine if the applicant will be banned temporarily or permanently.
It is mandatory that the passport of an applicant is valid for at least 90 days before applying for an ETIAS waiver.
Countries Under the ETIAS
Many of the EU countries are part of the ETIAS agreement. The participating countries in alphabetical order are;
- The Azores
- Canary Islands
- Czech Republic
For more information about the ETIAS, check out https://www.etia.com/.