What is ETIAS visa waiver and how it will change your future travel to Europe?

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Hey guys, in this post, I wanted to talk about ETIAS visa waiver and how it will change your future travel to Europe. I will discuss, what is ETIAS, when will be it introduced and who is ETIAS for. Moreover, you will learn about the ways of obtaining ETIAS to make your travels smooth and painless in the future.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

Best Instagrammable spots in Bordeaux, France + amazing photo locations
Beautiful Bordeaux in France

What is ETIAS and how it will change your future travels? Detailed overview

What exactly is ETIAS visa waiver and how it is important for you?

Well, if you landed on this post, you either already heard something about ETIAS (in other words, the word ‘ETIAS’ rings a bell) or you haven’t heard of it, but you’re just curious what it is and whether it will affect you when traveling to Europe.

ETIAS is European Travel Information and Authorization system that will be introduced in 2021 (the date is to be announced) and will affect everyone traveling to the Schengen countries, who currently doesn’t require a visa. If you’re not planning to go to Schengen are after 2021 (or ever) or need to obtain a visa to travel there beforehand (e.g. if you’re from Russia, Belarus, India etc.), this post won’t tell you anything life-changing, and you won’t be affected by ETIAS at all. Unless, of course, the visa requirements for the citizens of your country will change and you won’t need a visa to visit the EU anymore.

If you’re still unsure what this all is about, think about ESTA – the electronic authorisation system that is currently in place if you want to visit the USA, but you don’t need to obtain a visa and pay $120 or even more.

Brera, Milan
Brera, Milan, Italy

So who will need to get the ETIAS visa waiver?

If you currently don’t need a visa to visit Europe (the Schengen area), then it is very likely that you will be affected in 2021, when the system will be officially introduced. If you’re from the USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Japan and other 52 countries, yes, you are affected, and this post will be handy for you, as you will know what to expect soon and how to travel to Europe after 2021 on ETIAS.

Here’s the full list of the counties, whose citizens will need to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver to visit the Schengen Area.

Countries eligible for ETIAS
Wroclaw, Poland
Wroclaw, Poland

Why is there a need for ETIAS?

The main reason for the ETIAS introduction is security. You might think at first, that ETIAS is just making things more complicated, but it’s very important. Due to the increasing number of incidents and even terrorist attacks, Europe wants to ensure that people coming in have no story of serious criminal convictions and their primary and only purpose is travelling/visiting relatives or business.

Is it hard to obtain ETIAS?

If you’re wondering whether it will be hard to obtain ETIAS, well, it won’t be, or it at least shouldn’t be. The official website is promising that the process won’t take longer than 10 minutes online and it will speed up the process at the border when entering the Schengen area. So in the end, it will actually save you some time. The only caveat is that you will need to pay something like 7 euros to apply. The ETIAS you’ll receive will be valid for three years or until your passport expires (standard is three years though, but if you’re lucky, you can get a longer duration of ETIAS). Once awarded ETIAS, you can stay in the Schengen Area up to 90 days in one trip.

So how to apply for ETIAS? You will be asked to provide your full name, address, passport number and details and your date of birth and you will also need to answer a couple of security, health and occupation questions. And of course, there will be a question about your travel plans, so you need to be aware of your itinerary when applying for the visa waiver ETIAS.

Northern Spain road trip itinerary: Santander to San Sebastian
Sunset in Santander, Spain

How long does it take to get ETIAS approved?

Since ETIAS is not in place yet, the information is not very practical; however, the official website promises that it will mostly take minutes. However, there might be cases, when the application takes longer, mainly if it triggered some internal alert. In case your ETIAS was declined for some reason, you will have a chance to appeal.

Laid-back 2-week itinerary for Portugal | Tripsget


To summarise, if you’re from one of these 60 countries and you’re planning to keep visiting the Schengen area after 2021 (the exact date will be announced soon), you can’t do it without applying for the ETIAS. ETIAS will be very similar to American ESTA, so if you ever had experience with ESTA, you won’t have any problems. ETIAS will cost only 7 euros, and it will make traveling to Europe more efficient and most importantly, safer.

Planning a trip to Europe? Read my post about the itinerary for Europe in 16 days! Alternatively, here’s a post about the most underestimated cities to visit in Europe. If you’re interested, give it a read!

This post is written in collaboration with ETIAS.

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