RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In 2022 the EU will launch the European Travel Information and Authorization System, a new visa waiver for traveling to Europe.
ETIAS is not a visa. As a passport holder from Brazil or another Latin American nation, you’ll still be able to stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days visa-free but you will need to register with ETIAS.
This article explains everything you need to know to understand the new travel authorization: how it works, the application process, and paying for ETIAS, see here for more information on ETIAS fees.
What Is ETIAS and Why Is It Being Introduced?
ETIAS is being introduced to boost the border security of the Schengen Area. Currently, travelers from visa-exempt countries can cross a Schengen Area external border using just their passport. Whilst this has provided easy and hassle-free access to some of the world’s top tourist destinations, there have been calls from EU member states for more security and protection from outside threats.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System has been developed as a means of screening all non-European visitors before they cross the border. By preventing potentially dangerous criminals from entering Europe, you’ll be able to enjoy holiday hotspots such as France, Spain, and Italy with greater peace of mind than ever before.
ETIAS is similar to existing programs in the United States and Canada, each of which has its own visa waiver scheme.
How Does the ETIAS Visa Waiver Work?
ETIAS works by cross-checking passports and personal data of individual travelers against information stored in international security databases. The Schengen Information System (SIS), Interpol, and Europol data are amongst those consulted. There will also be an ETIAS watchlist containing the details of individuals considered a threat to Europe.
In most cases, nothing will be flagged up during the automatic screening process: ETIAS is only concerned with serious crime and terrorism so travelers with criminal records for minor offenses shouldn’t be deterred from applying.
Provided there are no hits in any of the databases during automatic screening, the ETIAS application will be approved almost immediately, at this point the visa waiver is linked to the electronic passport chip. The visa waiver can then be verified when the passport is scanned at the exterior border.
On the rare occasion that something is flagged up, the application will be reviewed manually by the ETIAS Central and National Units who must come to a decision within 2 weeks.
If the request is denied, the applicant has the right to appeal the decision.
The ETIAS Visa Waiver Application Process
Fortunately, the ETIAS visa waiver application process is fast and efficient. The process is fully online and can be completed from any electronic device with internet access. As this is not a visa, the requirements are fairly straightforward with no need to provide additional supporting paperwork unless later requested.
The information required to fill out the ETIAS application form includes biographical information as it appears on the passport (full name, nationality, date of birth) as well as the passport number and issue and expiry dates.
You’ll also be asked a few additional security and health-related questions to help officials identify anyone who could potentially pose an epidemic risk.
Care should be taken when filling out the application, any incorrect or missing information may lead to delays or even rejection. You’ll then need to pay the ETIAS visa waiver fees with a credit or debit card before submitting the request for review.
Key Features of the ETIAS Visa Waiver
ETIAS will make traveling to Europe safer while at the same time providing quick and easy access. One of the greatest advantages of the visa waiver is that it grants entry to 26 countries. As there are no internal borders in the Schengen Area, once you’ve entered Europe you won’t face additional checkpoints. You should, however, carry your passport with you at all times.
It is valid for 3 years from the date of issue, or until the passport expires. The travel authorization cannot be transferred to a different passport so if your travel document expires you’ll need to reapply for ETIAS. This is also worth bearing in mind if you have dual nationality, you must apply for ETIAS and travel to Europe using the same passport.
ETIAS is a multiple-entry permit and valid for stay in Europe for up to 90 days per 180-day period for travel and business purposes. It will also be valid for transit purposes.
Where Can I Visit With an ETIAS Visa Waiver?
With an ETIAS visa waiver, you’ll be able to visit each of the 26 countries that make up the Schengen Area
If you are thinking about visiting any of the above countries in the next few years you’ll need a visa waiver. ETIAS will be available to eligible passport holders from the end of 2022 and will become a mandatory entry requirement following a 6-month grace period.