If you’re already planning a trip to Europe in 2021, you need to know that a passport alone may no longer be enough to access many of the continent’s top tourist destinations.

That’s because, with the introduction of the Electonic Travel and Information Authorization System (ETIAS), travelers from visa-exempt nations will need to apply for a new permit to enter the Schengen Area.

No European travel itinerary would be complete without countries such as France, Italy, and Spain, as all of these nations are to be affected by this change in visa policy, it’s important to be prepared. Check here the ETIAS visa waiver requirements for your country of origin, ensuring you have everything you need to apply.

What are the Benefits of ETIAS for Travelers?

Up until now, visitors from a long list of visa-exempt countries have been able to enter the Schengen Area using just a passport. However, as governments across the world seek to increase security and challenge global tourism, a way to pre-screen people heading to these nations was called for.

The first draft of the ETIAS visa waiver program was published back in 2016 by the European Parliament and since then, the new system has been under development, with the launch date now set for 2021.

As a traveler in the Schengen Area, you will be able to take advantage of this added security and explore 26 countries with greater peace of mind than ever before. This is because, once the new IT system is launched, potentially dangerous individuals will have access blocked. Increased safety for all.

How Will ETIAS Work?

If you’re familiar with the US ESTA or Canadian eTA, ETIAS may sound similar in that it is multiple-entry and can be used for short stays. The ETIAS is valid for 3 years, or until your passport expires, and with it you can stay for up to 90 days within a 180 day period, leaving and entering as many times as you wish.

A sophisticated IT system, ETIAS will automatically compile and check data, determining whether an applicant poses a risk to the Schengen Area, other visitors, and residents. Multiple security databases will be involved in cross-checking data including SIS, VIS, EURODAC, INTERPOL, and EUROPOL to ensure no information gaps are left unfilled.

Passenger Name Records (PNR) and the Entry-Exit System (EES) will run alongside ETIAS to guarantee maximum safety for everyone. The PNR allows EU police forces and justice authorities to gain access to traveler data and is only used in the prevention of terrorism and other crime.

The Entry-Exit System is another really useful tool for boosting Schengen zone security. By electronically registering the entry, exit, and refusal of third-country nationals, it will strengthen border control without the need to put lots more feet on the ground.

How to Apply for the ETIAS Visa Waiver

Although the ETIAS may seem like an additional step to take when planning your holiday, it is important to remember that travelers will benefit greatly from the scheme.

Moreover, the application process is set to be speedy and simple. You will be able to apply for the ETIAS online in around 10 minutes and, in the majority of cases, the authorization will be granted in a matter of minutes. It is predicted that 95% of applications will be cleared almost immediately, so there’s no need to worry about delays.

Also, it’s important to note that once you have an approved ETIAS, you can move throughout the Schengen Area, without the need to get a separate permit for each country you intend to visit.

Author Bio:

Susan Noel is an experienced content writer. She is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where she shares her valuable travel tips and experience with the audience.