The ETIAS visa application
In November 2023, citizens of some non-European Union countries will need to be in possession of a visa called ETIAS to enter the countries belonging to the Schengen European area, as required by a European Commission law approved in 2016. The decision to introduce a visa of this type was dictated by the increase in terrorist attacks that have hit several European countries, making it necessary to strengthen the borders of the European Union and collect information on all those who transit through its territory.
For which countries will the ETIAS visa be required
The ETIAS visa will be required to enter countries belonging to the Schengen European area, those belonging to EFTA (European Free Trade Association), and European micro-states with open borders. Specifically, these are: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Vatican City, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Monaco, Portugal, Czech Republic, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary.
At the moment, it is not necessary to be in possession of an ETIAS visa to enter Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Ireland and Romania, but it should be taken into account that this list of countries may change at the time of their entry into the European Schengen area, which at the moment, for example, is scheduled for 2024 with regard to Croatia.
How to apply for an ETIAS visa
Similar to the American ESTA or the Canadian eTA, the ETIAS visa can be requested online on the official website, through a procedure that will last about ten minutes, where all the required information must be entered, including personal data, e-mail address, travel itinerary and all the answers to the questionnaire submitted. At the end of this procedure, you will also have to pay a fee of € from which citizens under 18 and over 70 will be exempt.
Generally, applications are processed and approved within a few minutes, at most a few hours, but to ensure that you receive your ETIAS on time, it is recommended to carry out this procedure at least 4 days before your departure, so that you have time to apply for a Schengen a regular Schengen visa in case the ETIAS visa is denied.
When filling out the ETIAS visa application, you will need to have your passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel, your email address on which to receive the ETIAS permit, and a credit or debit card to pay the fee. In addition, it is mandatory to enter personal information and pay attention to typing errors, to avoid being denied a visa.
The application form to apply for the ETIAS visa contains several sections, in which the following information must be entered:
- Personal data: name and surname, date and place of birth, gender, residential address, telephone number, e-mail address, name and surname of parents
- Passport data: Country, citizenship, date of issue, expiry date
- Health Questionnaire: information on any recently contracted infectious and contagious diseases
- Criminal record questionnaire : information on any ongoing trials, involvement in illegal activities, drug use… Etc.
- Other information on possible travel to war zones and immigration history outside or within the European Union
- Travel information: carrier, date of entry into Europe, first EU country entering
- Payment method: type of debit or credit card, name of the holder, card number, expiration date, security code.
Once all this information has been entered, the citizens to whom it is requested will have to pay the application fee with the payment method for which the data have been indicated, and at this point the request can be sent and will be taken care of immediately. In the event that this transaction is not successful, the request will be put on stand-by, to give the applicant time to check that the card used has not expired, or that it has sufficient funds to complete the payment.
If this problem persists, it is advisable to contact your bank, in particular if the payment is made in a country other than the country of origin, if there are unusual payments on the card compared to the usual ones, or if the card has transaction limits that can be changed directly by the bank.
How to receive your ETIAS visa
Once the payment of the fee of has been completed, the visa application will be processed, comparing the applicant’s data with those held by the European authorities dealing with immigration and security. In the event that there are no matches with the data of people who may pose a threat to European security, the visa will be issued within a few minutes, or at most a few hours, while otherwise it is possible to be contacted to provide further information, or to be denied the ETIAS.
The procedure for comparing the applicant’s data with those held by the European authorities is carried out automatically, but if there are any problems this will be done manually, and the applicant will be contacted to provide further information and documents so that the competent authorities can make a decision. At this point, within four weeks the visa will be approved or denied, and in the latter case the applicant can file an appeal, or apply for a Schengen visa.
Once the ETIAS visa has been received, it will be valid for three years from the date of issue, and it can be used for an unlimited number of multiple entry trips to countries in the Schengen area, always lasting less than 90 days. During your travel, you will also be able to travel from one country to another without having to present additional documents or visas. In any case, before traveling to Europe it is always advisable to make sure that your ETIAS visa is still valid, so that in case it is not you can apply for another one.