The European Union is making changes to its entry requirements. Soon, visa-exempt third-country nationals will need an ETIAS authorization to travel to the Schengen Area.
Read on to find out whether you will need to complete an ETIAS application before your next trip to Europe.
What you need to travel to Europe
What you need to visit Europe depends on your nationality. Passport holders from certain countries can enter with just a valid passport whilst others also require a Schengen visa.
Indian passport holders need a visa to go to the Schengen Area. You should apply for a visa at the embassy or consulate of the country you will visit. If you plan to visit several countries, contact the embassy of the country you will go to first.
You’ll need to attend an interview and present several supporting documents. Visa processing takes around 15 days, longer at times of high demand, so be sure to apply in plenty of time.
It’s a short-term visa valid for stays of up to 90 days per 180-day period. The Schengen visa is only for business or tourism, to work or stay long term you’ll need a different type of visa or residence permit.
Who can travel to Europe without a visa?
As mentioned above, some nationalities are eligible for visa-free entry to Europe.
If you are a passport holder from one of the more than 60 exempt countries, you may not need to apply. Visa-exempt nations include the United States, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Australia.
Tourists and business travelers from these countries can enjoy up to 90 days anywhere in the Schengen Area without a visa.
New travel authorization for visa-exempt travelers
The EU will soon launch a new travel authorization. From the end of 2022, visa-exempt travelers will need to apply for ETIAS before going to Europe. If you’re used to traveling without a visa, you’ll need to take an extra step before departure.
Fortunately, applying for ETIAS will take minimal time and effort. Eligible travelers will be able to fill out the online form in just a few minutes and most requests will be approved quickly.
All that is required is a valid passport from one of the eligible countries. The simple online application requires basic personal information and passport details, there are also some health and security questions.
Most applications will be approved almost immediately and the authorization will be connected to the passport, ready to travel to Europe.
Safety and security measure
Europe is not the first place to introduce a visa waiver system. ESTA for the United States and the Canadian eTA are just 2 examples of existing schemes.
In all cases, one of the main objectives of the visa waiver is to improve cross-border security. The pre-screening process allows potential threats to be detected before they reach Europe. ETIAS applications are checked against Schengen security databases.
ETIAS will also be a useful tool for preventing irregular migration and generally improving border management.
Where in Europe can you visit?
Whether you are traveling with a Schengen visa or with ETIAS, the countries you can visit are the same. Both permits are valid across the Schengen Area which is composed of 26 countries.
If you’re hoping to make the most out of your trip and visit several different places in Europe, you don’t need to apply for multiple visas or visa waivers. Moreover, ETIAS is a multiple-entry permit so you can also use it to visit different countries on separate trips to the Schengen zone.
Europe is the most visited region by Indians. Top choices include Paris in France, the Austrian Alps, and Italian cities such as Rome and Milan. Some non-EU nations are also included: Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland.
When visiting several countries, bear in mind that the 90-day allowance begins on entering the first nation. You must depart the Schengen Area within 3 months.
UK entry requirements
The United Kingdom was never part of the Schengen Area, even before Brexit. It has its own visa policy and entry requirements. Neither the Schengen visa nor ETIAS can be used to visit London or other UK destinations.
Indian tourists need a Standard Visitor Visa to go to the UK on holiday. If your passport was issued by another country, check to see whether you are eligible for visa-free entry. Note that the UK recently announced plans for its own visa waiver system, the UK ETA to be launched in 2025.