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Increased Security for European Travel is Coming with ETIAS

With the increase in terrorist attacks in Europe over recent years, some travelers have become hesitant to visit this beautiful area of the world. Europe is responding to these concerns by rolling out the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) by 2021. This system provides extra screening to help ensure that dangerous people don’t enter mainland Europe.

Here’s what travelers need to know before they leave home.

How the ETIAS Will Keep Travelers More Secure

The ETIAS is a visa waiver system for people who currently come from countries that do not require permission to travel into the Schengen Zone of Europe. It is NOT a visa, but it does allow the European governments to run travelers’ information through several databases before permitting them entry into the area.

The database screens for danger on several levels.

  • It looks for terrorist activity, affiliations with terrorist organizations, or affiliations with other people who have either of the above.
  • It looks at previous criminal activity, including convictions for violent acts, drug-related offenses, and domestic violence.
  • It looks for affiliations with groups that are known to have extremist views and/or those that have threatened violence before.
  • It screens for possible exposure to dangerous communicable diseases, whether these are present in a person’s home country or at other, previous travel locations.
  • It scans for other red flags that may have been raised about the traveler before.

The system will refuse entry to Europe for anyone it deems to be dangerous. Some travelers who do not get the visa waiver may be able to apply again and receive one or appeal to a consulate or embassy for an in-person screening.

How to Use the ETIAS System

The ETIAS visa waiver system is designed to be easy to use. In fact, officials hope that it is so simple that it will not deter any travelers from making needed or wanted trips to Europe.

The application is available online here. Travelers only need:

  • Their current passport, with at least 6 months of validity left on it.
  • A credit card.
  • An email address.

Then they can follow the instructions and fill out the form. Once they have paid the ETIAS visa waiver application fee and submitted the application itself, they should watch their email because they will be notified of updates to their visa waiver status there.

Once the ETIAS visa waiver for Europe has been granted, they don’t need to do anything except bring the same passport with them when they travel. Officials will be able to scan it, see their visa waiver approval, and let them into Europe.

Because the ETIAS visa waiver is good for up to 3 years or until the current passport expires (whichever comes first), travelers don’t need to apply every time. They only need to enter Europe through the same gateway city on each trip.

Travelers can feel safer than ever once the ETIAS visa waiver system is implemented. Feeling safe makes travel even more fun!