ETIAS or the European Travel Information and Authorization system is an electronic system which is designed for allowing and keeping track of the visa exempted foreign travelers who enter the Schengen Zone.

This system, first conceptualized in 2016, provides an extra layer of control and security over these foreign nationals. It follows the same objectives as ESTA or the U.S Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which was designed for the same purpose. To put it more simply, this program will act as a pre-screening process for determining the eligibility of third-country foreign nationals to travel to the Schengen zone.

The application process will also assess whether this visit poses as a potential threat to security and/or migration. As of now, it has been proposed that the system will collect, track and update the relevant details of these foreign nationals to ensure if their visit to the Schengen zone is indeed safe.

But this travel authorization system will not merely be used for travel and business- but it will also let the foreign nationals visit the Schengen member states for accessing medical and transit-related help. While the legal process for qualifying the ETIAS had already started since 2016, the system is likely to be rolled out by 2020.

ETIAS visa requirements

Applying for non-tourist visas via ETIAS is a relatively detailed process. This is even more relevant if you are planning on an extended stay or are traveling for your business. The timeline and requirements for tourist visas, however, are comparatively simpler.

Your visa will be issued by the embassy which is representing the concerned country and they will require you to attend a personal interview as a part of your application process. The interview will be scheduled after you send in your personal and passport details to the authorities. If you are coming from a country which is outside the European Union, you will need your biometric passport and a travel authorization (pre-approved) to qualify for the VISA interview and the corresponding immigration from the border of an EU state

How to apply for an ETSA or ETIAS?

Both ETSA and ETIAS follow a similar guideline for the applications. You’ll have to begin by filling in the application form, which will hardly take twenty minutes.

The test takes place online, and so you won’t have to physically carry your paperwork. Once you choose your country of citizenship, you will soon be redirected to a page which will require you to fill out various fields regarding your personal details. Try to read the questions carefully, and answer them as honestly as you can.

You will be asked to enter biometric details like your first name, last name, the last name of birth, date of birth, a location of birth, and so on. At the same time, you will also be required to give in information about your current country, current residential address, email address, contact number, work experience, education and the EU country you are intending to visit.

Finally, you will be required to answer questions related to your background and eligibility. You will be asked about your medical conditions, whether you had traveled to war countries and whether you had been deported for a crime. Your criminal records will also be checked in this process.

For a minor, their guardian will have to apply for the ETIAS. However, if you a6re a family member of a citizen in an EU state, you will have to submit legitimate proof of your relationship with the concerned individual. You will also be asked to share a copy of your residence card and other additional background information.

After completing the application, you’ll have to pay the required fee and submit it. Once you do this, the system will check if your entered information is authentic, your overall eligibility and your risk factors (if any).

If you enter the right details in the application form and are not assumed as a threat, ETIAS will approve your application. This entire process is likely to be completed in a couple of minutes. However, if the system experiences any hit while assessing your application, the process will take longer time because in that case the application will go through manual processing. This process is likely to take four days (minimum) to two weeks (maximum).

When does ETIAS become obligatory?

The legal process of ETIAS applications had already started in 2016. The process, however, will be completely obligatory by 2020, when ETIAS is rolled out.

How does ETIAS work?

ETIAS countries

Austria, Greece, Poland, Belgium, Hungary, Portugal, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia, Denmark, Latvia, Slovenia, Spain, Denmark, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, and Sweden are the Schengen Member countries.