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European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS)


( 27, 2019)--With the expansion and debatable success of the European Union, the supranational state has become evident that it’s possible to successfully coordinate policies across multiple jurisdictions. Trade wars and tax competition has always eroded the notion of collective behavior, but the E.U. proves this is not the case. The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), though not strictly the E.U., is evidence that coordinated policy can work too.

On September 5th, 2018, The European Council passed a regulation that would better control European borders. This system was designed to mitigate security threats to European countries by making sure Europe as a collective can identify who, when visiting or moving, may pose as a security threat. If this is the case, they can deny such people the authorization to travel.



So, what does this mean for visitors?

The systems mean that all visa-exempt countries are required to go through ETIAS - For a small fee, you can apply online, meaning the application is processed quickly. This isn’t exactly like a visa, it’s separate - as well as being faster and cheaper. In fact, it's a visa waiver program. In this sense, the E.U. is being generous here, maintaining an accessible system as well as high-level security.

Who needs an ETIAS visa waiver?

All in all, there are 60 nationalities that need an ETIAS visa waiver. That’s good news, as 60 countries need not apply for a visa. For a quick example, 7 of these origin countries include:

  • Australia 
  • Hong Kong
  • USA
  • Canada
  • Argentina
  • Singapore
  • UAB

The link above shares the remaining 53 origin countries. So, if you’re from one of those and are looking to visit a European ETIAS country, then your life just got easier with a 5-minute application. It’s important to note that not every country in Europe or the E.U. uses ETIAS. For example, Monaco, Sweden, and Vatican City all use ETIAS, along with most European Union States, but not the UK. 

It is known as the Schengen Area - the area in which 26 countries are a part of the ETIAS program. This is 22 out of the 24 EU countries, along with the inclusion of four non-EU countries. The Schengen Agreement was signed over 30 years ago in 1985 (at that point it was just 10 countries).

The entire process is designed to be hassle-free, with no necessity to go to a consulate or embassy. You can visit 400 million KM^2 with very little friction. Of course, you will need a valid passport - ideally with at least 6 months left on it. These details will be required to fulfill the ETIAS application. 

Europe is a hugely popular holiday destination, with an extremely rich history and interesting economic developments. Not only is a great holiday, but a great blueprint of how to work in unison towards common goals, such as national security, green energy and taxation. Now it’s not just EU citizens that get to freely move about without a visa, but much of the rest of the world too. It’s important to keep an eye on the eligible origin countries for the ETIAS, as the list will continue to grow.