Visiting Europe is popular with many Canadian travelers. It is a culturally rich and diverse land, with many familial and historical ties to modern Canada. However, the way that Canadians travel to Europe is about to change.
ETIAS is a new EU travel system that is to launch soon. Once live, it is going to affect Canadians, Americans and many other foreign nationals, although there’s no need to panic. This article looks at the 5 most important things to know about ETIAS, how it’s going to work and when it will be a necessary requirement. Click here f
What is ETIAS and Why Does it Matter?
ETIAS stands for Electronic Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a new initiative being introduced by the European Union to pre-screen tourists and improve the flow of passengers into the borders of the Schengen Area.
The Schengen zone is the EU’s passport-free travel area, which consists of 26 European countries. Passport checks are only necessary when entering its external borders for the first time.
In recent years the EU has been working to make its borders more secure, reduce illegal immigration and to cut down arrival waiting times for foreign visitors. The result of that is ETIAS, a new form of electronic travel authorization that international travelers from outside the EU will need. Canada is amongst the countries that this affects.
How To Apply For ETIAS From Canada
At the moment, Canadians can travel to any EU Schengen country for up to 90 days with just a valid passport. When ETIAS becomes an essential requirement though, they will need to pre-register for the system before a visit to Europe.
Fortunately, applying for ETIAS is going to be a simple, straightforward process. The whole application will be managed online and Canadians need only apply via a web application form. This will only take about 10 minutes to fill in and is approved quickly in 96 hours or less.
Canadians will need to submit the following to apply:
- A Canadian passport with over 6 months validity remaining
- The name of the first Schengen member state they will arrive to
- A valid email address
- A credit or debit card to pay the ETIAS fee
During the process, Canadians will also have to answer some personal and security questions. If applying for a child or on behalf of a minor you’ll also need to indicate your relationship with them.
When Will Canadians Need An ETIAS to Travel?
ETIAS is going to be a requirement from 2021 onwards. When it is fully implemented it will be necessary for Canadian tourists to have travel authorization before arriving in a European Schengen country.
However, this isn’t as daunting as it sounds, this is not like applying for a Schengen visa. ETIAS has been designed to be much easier to obtain and is designed to be flexible to use for travelers. You won’t have to set foot in an embassy or present reams of supporting data to get approved.
How To Travel To Europe With ETIAS
Once the system is launched in 2021, Canadians will need to be registered with the system before arriving in Europe. Airlines and other transportation companies will be required to check if passengers are registered with the system, otherwise, they could be prevented from boarding.
However, the process of arriving in Europe will actually be much easier with ETIAS than it is today. Canadian visitors will simply be able to enter with their passport and will be able to pass through border control via the eGates at European airports.
You don’t need to print off your approved ETIAS as it’s linked directly to the passport used during the application. However, it’s a good idea to take a digital or paper copy with you during your trip to Europe.
Although, remember if you’re a dual citizen you can only travel with your registered Canadian passport. If you hold another non-European passport and use it to enter Europe you could be blocked from entering.
How Many Times Can ETIAS Be Used?
ETIAS can be used multiple times for up to 90 days at a time. The travel authorization is valid for a total of 3 years, or until the holder’s Canadian passport expires (whichever comes first).
This means that intrepid travelers can go on a number of European road trips and visit the continent numerous times over a number of years. Once the ETIAS has expired it will be necessary to apply again, although there are no limits on how many times you can do this.
The changes that ETIAS is going to bring are going to be small and relatively unintrusive. While Canadians should be prepared for changes in the way they plan a trip to Europe, they’ll find that the benefits of the new travel system outweigh the negatives.