A visa-like policy that would affect Canadians traveling to certain European countries for the third time has been delayed.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) was first due to come into effect in January 2021, then was pushed back to November 2023. But, in its latest announcement, a third delay in its implementation now indicates that the program will take effect. In the year 2024.
When it goes into effect, the new policy will require Canadians traveling less than 90 days to one of Europe’s 30 countries to complete a visa application, according to the European Commission’s Immigration and Business website. It will cost you about 10 Canadian dollars.
The European Union is trying to create an entry/exit system, an automated computer system for passenger check-in. However, the implementation of this system has been delayed until November this year, further delaying the publication of the ETIAS visa.
Here’s everything you need to know about the policy:
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS will require an application which will be required before entering some EU countries. It is attached to a person’s passport and is valid for up to three years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.
Countries such as Canada, Australia, the United States, Mexico and others will be required.
Travelers will need the visa to enter all 27 European countries, known as the Schengen Area, and add three more.
What is the Schengen area?
There are 27 countries that make up the Schengen Area, with the exception of Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania, which will continue to use ETIAS.
These countries allow travelers to move freely without crossing internal borders. The Schengen Area was first launched in 1985 with five countries.
ETIAS will be required in 2024 prior to travel to: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Internal border controls have not yet been lifted in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania, the Council of Europe’s website explains.
Why does the European Union apply ETIAS?
Before the ETIAS requirements come into effect in 2024, Canadians can enter the Schengen Area at any Schengen Area border and travel freely.
ETIAS is applied to identify any “high security, irregular migration or pandemic risks” posed by travelers entering the EU from visa-free countries, the EU Commission’s website on migration and home affairs notes.
Who needs ETIAS?
The EU website says people will generally need an ETIAS if they:
- are not citizens of the European Union;
- a citizen of a country whose nationals are not required to obtain a short-stay visa in European countries that require an ETIAS visa;
- You do not have a residence permit/card/document issued by one of the European countries that requires ETIAS
When and how to apply?
Canadians can complete their own ETIAS application or authorize a third party such as a friend, family member or travel agency to submit an application on their behalf.
The EU says it “strongly advises” people to get an ETIAS before booking tickets and accommodation.
The EU website says: “Most applications will be processed within minutes and at the latest within 96 hours. However, some applicants may be asked to provide additional information or documents or to participate in an interview with national authorities, which can take up to 30 additional days.
Documents are only mandatory for people over 18 years old and under 70 years old.
The application will cost 7 euros, or about 10 Canadian dollars.
Once the system is in place, border agents from the country of entry into the Schengen Area will be able to access this information when travelers arrive.
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