ETIAS and Schengen Travel Zone FAQs
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a visa waiver program that goes into effect on January 1st, 2021, allowing citizens of qualifying countries to travel in and between the Schengen Travel Zone of Europe.
What is the Schengen Travel Zone?
The Schengen Travel Zone, also known as the Schengen Zone, was created by the European Union, or EU, and is currently a group of 26 countries – some are in the EU, some are not. Since the number of foreign travelers into the Schengen Zone have greatly increased, Schengen Zone countries are now requiring travelers there to pass a detailed security screen to help make travel safer and easier.
What countries are in the Schengen Travel Zone?
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
What European Union (EU) countries are not part of the ETIAS system?
As it stands right now, The United Kingdom and Ireland are not and will not be participating in the ETIAS program. Other countries have pending approval to be a part of the Schengen Zone, and those countries currently include Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. Check back often for updates on the list of countries you may visit with ETIAS approval.
I’m a citizen of The United States. Does ETIAS apply to me?
Yes, if you want to travel visa-free throughout the Schengen Travel Zone beginning January 1st, 2021. The United States is an ETIAS-eligible country, meaning that its citizens are eligible to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver.
What countries’ citizens will need to apply for ETIAS to travel to the Schengen Zone visa-free (in addition to the United States)?
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Timor Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Ukraine,. United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanautu, Vatican City and Venezuela.
Please note: currently, given the United Kingdom (UK) withdrawal from the European Union, it is not yet clear whether or not citizens of the UK will be required to apply for ETIAS.
What are ETIAS application requirements?
A valid passport, citizenship in an ETIAS-eligible country and a valid debit or credit card.
When should I apply for ETIAS?
At the very latest, you should apply for ETIAS at least 5 days before your trip to the Schengen Zone.
How long does it take to get ETIAS approval?
Once an ETIAS application is complete and submitted, most responses come the same day. If there is a delay for some reason ETIAS approval can take up to four days.
How long is ETIAS valid once I’m approved?
ETIAS is valid for three years or when your passport expires, whichever comes first. If you are approved for ETIAS and have less than three years before your passport expires, you’ll have to re-apply for ETIAS when you have your new passport.
Can I visit any country in the European Union (EU) with ETIAS?
No. While the Schengen Zone includes countries in the EU, not every country within the Schengen Zone is a part of the EU. Also, ETIAS authorization requires you to first pass through the first country you stated in your ETIAS application.
How is ETIAS different than a visa?
ETIAS is a visa waiver and does not require you to visit and interview with a country’s consulate or embassy. An ETIAS will also not allow you to work in a specific country like a visa would or study abroad for more than 3 months.
How long can I stay in the Schengen Area with an approved ETIAS?
ETIAS allows travel in and between Schengen Travel Zone countries for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
I’m a tourist. Do I need ETIAS?
Yes, it the preferred travel document If you’re going to be traveling to participating countries ETIAS approval would help you bypass visits and/or interviews with embassies and consulates, as long as your travel does not exceed a 90-day stay within a 180-day period.
I’m a student. Do I need ETIAS?
It depends. Unless you’re traveling to attend a conference or short-term class, chances are you’ll need a visa. Full-time students enrolled abroad require country-specific visas.
I’m traveling to Europe on business. Do I need ETIAS?
It depends. Business travel purposes are covered by ETIAS approval as long as you are not going to be working in the country or countries you’re visiting, and as long as your travel purpose falls under those that qualify for ETIAS, such as a business conference, workshop or client meeting. Your travel in the Schengen Zone must not exceed 90 days within a 180-day period.
Can I work in a Schengen Area country with ETIAS?
It depends. ETIAS approval allows you to travel as a tourist or business person in and between Schengen Zone countries, for a period of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. For example, attending a business conference, a business meeting or a short-term workshop that falls within the ETIAS regulations would be an approved travel purpose. Working in a business that resides within the Schengen Zone would not be an approved ETIAS travel purpose.
If I’m approved for ETIAS do I still need a passport?
Yes. In fact, your ETIAS approval will be digitally tied to your passport, so it’s critical your passport is valid when you apply and when you plan on traveling. If any details on your passport do not match those of your ETIAS application, your ETIAS is void.
Am I guaranteed entry into participating countries with ETIAS approval?
No. The final decision lies with customs agents who process your entry into a participating country. However, as long as you are traveling legitimately to the Schengen Zone, not seeking work or trying to migrate unlawfully, there should not be cause for concern.
What do I need to know about traveling once I am approved for ETIAS?
You should have at least 3 months validity left on your passport when you arrive in the Schengen Zone. An approved ETIAS will get you to the border but does not guarantee entry into a country. The ultimate decision lies with customs agents at the border.
What will customs agents ask me at the border of a Schengen Zone country?
Customs agents will likely want to know why you are visiting and will want to make sure you are not seeking work there or trying to migrate unlawfully.
What do I do if my ETIAS application is denied?
If your ETIAS application is denied, you’ll need to apply for a traditional visa for the country or countries you want to visit.