What is ETIAS (https://www.etia.com/)?

It is not a new program; the US had a program similar to this known as “ESTA”. In simple words, it is similar to an electronic visa or visa waiver program which is already implemented in some countries. It is not a visa rather it is a process through which you can get your visa and the whole process is done online.

Visa waiver programs allow people of participating countries to travel to destined countries for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.

ETIAS stands for the European Travel Information System, which will come into effect from January 1, 2021. ETIAS system will not affect dual citizens of the US and European Union country or any citizen of the European Union country. It will be very effective for short term travel throughout the Schengen Zone.

Schengen Zone consists of 26 countries and it eliminated internal border controls to provide hassle-free travel to travelers through Europe. Most of the countries in the Schengen Zone are European countries. The countries which are in the Schengen zone and are not European are Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland. The United Kingdom is the European Union country but doesn’t come under Schengen Zone. After getting the approval of ETIAS, you can visit the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within 180 days.

To get an approved ETIAS, all you need is a valid passport and completed ETIAS online process. It is super easy as you don’t have to approach any nearest embassy or consulate to have a visa interview.

ETIAS approval is quick and economic. It takes up to minutes for approval after the application is complete and the maximum time it can take for approval is four days. But, if you compare it to the process for application of traditional visa, the latter is far better as that takes up to fourteen days to get approved.

61 countries are eligible for the application of ETIAS visa waiver, and ETIAS will allow citizens of those countries to travel for 90 days within 180 days in the Schengen Area Zone. ETIAS came into the form because of the various issues such as migrant influx, security issues and issues related to terrorism.

There are several differences between the traditional visa and ETIAS. In ETIAS, the entire process is online but for a visa, you have to visit the embassy or consulate for an interview. As for ETIAS, the time-period for the visa is limited while visa time-period depends on the type of visa you have applied for.

ETIAS is applicable only for short business trips, or some medical treatment, you can’t take it for study purposes or something else. Getting an approval of ETIAS is not tedious, you have to answer the questions diligently and sincerely and you will be good to go. It is also applicable for infants and there is no application fee for people under the age of 18, but there is a fee for the people above the age of 18.

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