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ETIAS: the new visa waiver program for the Schengen Zone

Are you thinking of one day visiting one or more of the Schengen member states of Europe? Whether you’re drawn by the dramatic landscapes of Iceland, the sunshine and beaches of Spain or the relaxed pace of life in Greece, you need to be aware of some changes that are due to take place. From the end of 2021, there will be a new visa waiver programme for visitors to the Schengen Zone, an area that comprises 26 European states, stretching from Scandinavia in the north down to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece in the south. This will be known as the European Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS for short, and is designed to strengthen security in the region. If you are thinking of visiting this part of Europe, you will want to know more about the ETIAS visa waiver requirements and we’ve teamed up with ETIAS.info to bring you the key information you need to know. Who needs an ETIAS visa waiver? At the time of writing, there are 60 nationalities that will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver to enter the Schengen Area. In alphabetical order, these countries are as follows: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Samoa, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Timor Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Venezuela. It is important to note that more countries may be added to this list between now and the ETIAS coming into effect. It is also important to note that citizens from many of these countries can currently travel to the Schengen Zone without a visa, but that this will change when the ETIAS is implemented. What are the ETIAS visa waiver requirements? In order to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver, there will be three basic requirements. Firstly, you must have a valid passport with at least three months remaining from the date of arrival. Secondly, you will need a debit or credit card to pay the ETIAS visa application fee. And finally you will need an up-to-date email address in order to receive the ETIAS visa waiver. In making your application, you will also of course need to provide certain information such as your personal details, passport number and travel plans. ETIAS visa waivers will be valid for three years and will allow visitors to enter the Schengen Area for periods of up to 90 days. It will also allow for multiple entries into the zone as long as the total number of days spent in the Schengen does not exceed 90 days in any 180 day period. For more information on the new ETIAS visa waiver programme, please visit our sponsor. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by ETIAS.info.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. When you say the end of 2021 do we have a precise date yet? Will it literally be implemented on the 1st January 2022?

    I know it seems way into the future but time has this disconcerting habit of passing. Useful to have advance warning.

  2. There are so many rules and visa regulations requiring 3 or 6 months left on your passport that I never take any chances. I always renew at least 8 or 9 months early. You just never know where you might travel at short notice.

  3. The no more than 90 days out of 180 days could be challenging. I’m coming up to retirement and beginning to think of a villa somewhere along the warm Mediterranean coast. I can see myself wanting to spend way more than 3 months of winter escaping from the cold. Would I be able to use July- December as one 180 day period and then January to June as another, thereby avoiding the need for full visas?

  4. I should try to remember this one. It’s the sort of info that passes you by until you get a nasty shock at the airport. Always best to be prepared.

  5. I read about this. I thought it was just a Brexit issue for the UK but it’s a wide reaching thing. The European Council had said that after Brexit UK citizens going for a short stay to the Schengen area get visa-free travel, but after 2021 you need more than a passport, ie. you’ll have to pay the fee and complete the ETIAS application. How long will it take to do the application? For instance, could you do it online just two days before you travel or would you need to do it further in advance? I’m also not sure of how much the fee is, but perhaps it varies depending on the length of your stay. Excellent information on this as it’s something travellers and tourists to the areas will need to know in advance.

  6. This is a little disconcerting as a traveler with an American passport. I was in Eastern Europe last summer and it was really easy to enter the country (I started my trip in Berlin) and made my way to Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest without having to do any border crossings. I understand it’s just an application but traveling without having to go through that process was really easy. I’m sure these new regulations have a lot to do with immigration, refugees and I guess workers who aren’t legally employed? I can understand that but hopefully, it won’t be too difficult of a process to obtain a visa waiver because I’ve been looking forward to traveling again in the EU in the future.

  7. I have found that there are so many people visiting Schengen and want a long term stay at this place. It seems that this place is very popular among tourists. Thanks for this info. keep posting i like it.

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