ETIAS Visas – What They Are and Who Needs Them

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It's easy to forget how lucky our generation is to be able to travel the world so freely. We can also forget the challenges we face that have recently seen many countries review their visa policies and requirements. If you plan to visit Europe in or after 2021, you may need a visa under the new ETIAS system. This article has some helpful tips on how to obtain an ETIAS visa for your next European holiday. 

Europe continues to be among the most popular and most appreciated vacation destinations in the world, but recent transformations have called for some administrative and control measures that everyone travelling to the area should know about. As a response to recent issues, such as the increased risk of terrorist attacks, the increased number of tourists visiting Europe and increasing migration, the European Union is about to launch the ETIAS system for visas, the travel authorizations emitted by the European Travel Information and Authorization System. The aim of introducing the system is to strengthen the external borders of the continent as well as to protect internal security while also promoting one of the basic principles of the European Union, the freedom of movement.

The system will be introduced beginning with the year 2021 and obtaining a visa issued through it will be mandatory for any citizen of the United States wishing to enter the Old Continent. Here are some more details about how you will be able to obtain your ETIAS visa.

Who Is Required to Obtain an ETIAS Authorization?

Every citizen of the United States who wishes to stay and to travel to countries in Europe for a continuous period of maximum 90 days will be required to obtain the ETIAS authorization. The document will be a multiple-entry visa that is valid for 3 years, the holder being required to plan their stay during those 3 years, but allowing for repeating the 90-day stay every 180 days. The states for which the visa is required also include countries that are currently part of the Schengen Area, but not of the EU, thus the document allows US citizens to travel to these countries without any additional travel documents.

How Can the Visa Be Obtained?

ETIAS visas can be obtained by filling in and submitting an online application form and paying the required processing fees. The online application form requires the applicant to provide the following types of personal information:

  • The applicant’s full name, place and date of birth – the applicant needs to be at least 18 years old to be allowed to apply for the visa;
  • The applicant’s gender;
  • The applicant’s residential address, phone number and email address;
  • The applicant’s education and employment status;
  • Passport-related information – the applicant is required to hold a machine-readable passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date on entering EU territory;
  • Information related to the EU country of first entry.

The applicant will also be required to answer a few security questions as well as questions that allow the authorities to check the applicant’s background and eligibility.

The processing fee for the visa is also paid via the application platform and the approval or the refusal of the application will be communicated via email, so the applicant will need to possess a credit or debit card as well as a valid email address for the communication. After the application document is processed, the applicant will either receive a conformation of the application or a refusal accompanied by a detailed motivation for the refusal.

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