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In recent weeks, major media outlets have widely reported on the tightening of entry rules to Europe, more specifically, the imminent introduction of the controversial ETIAS, which stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System.
It will apply to all foreigners visiting Europe as short-term visitors, including Americans. It may seem like an added hurdle, but unlike what has been widely reported in the mainstream media in recent weeks, this doesn’t mean travel is getting harder.
In this article, we will give you the lowdown on The new entry requirements to Europe and explain why exactly you shouldn’t believe the mainstream media:
Understanding the new Europe travel permit
For years, numerous rumors, most of them false, regarding ETIAS have circulated on the web. From fake websites claiming to process applications to misconceptions about its very nature, there is still a lot the general public doesn’t understand about the entry permit.
Originally scheduled to be implemented in 2020, it has been delayed several times due to the health crisis, giving rise to a lot of speculation, even if it was going to be introduced or not. The pandemic has now subsided and it will finally launch in 2024.
Once up and running, it will forever change Europe-bound travel, but unlike what the mainstream media has done reported, it will not make travel more difficult for Americans. Believe it or not, it can even help smooth the immigration process.
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An electronic travel authorization, usually abbreviated as ETA or other variations, is an online permit that applies to visa-exempt citizens seeking to enter a foreign country. The media may be calling it a ‘visa’, but it is nothing like one.
In fact, it is the exact opposite of a visa.
How does the ESTA work?
They can be easily obtained by completing an online form, answering a few selected security questions, and paying a nominal fee. Once obtained, ETAs are valid for a number of years, generally between two and five, and can be used several times until its expiration date.
In the case of Europe, it will allow eligible foreigners to visit Europe for 90 days out of any 180-day period during the three-year term.
Commonly used to pre-screen travelers prior to their arrival, they have been available in countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many others for years, although they were never required in Europe.
Europe’s ETIAS is simply a response to the travel authorization system of the United States, Canada, Australia and most of the Western world and concerns travelers who currently enjoy travel without a visa In the continent
However, once ETIAS is operational, Americans who do not have a valid permit will not be able to enter the Schengen Area of Europe, where it is valid. Contrary to popular belief, will continue to be exempt of visas, since ETIAS are something else.
It only costs €7 to apply
Completing an ETIA application, completely online, will only take a few minutes and upon payment of a fee of €7, applicable to travelers. 18-70 yearsthe vast majority will be issued automatically within minutes and sent directly to the applicant’s email.
Only those who may pose a danger to Europe, based on cross-database references and personal information, or who have previously violated short-term stay rules, will see their requests manually processed and potentially denied.
the average american who is not a terrorist, an illegal migrant seeking to enter Europe or a criminal on the blacklist of international organizations have nothing to worry about. They will almost certainly be issued an ETIAS immediately after filing.
The same applies to all foreign nationals who are currently allowed to travel to Europe without a tourist visa, including Canadians, British, Australians, New Zealanders, Mexicans, and others.
Other non-visa-exempt travelers will still be subject to the visa rules, and that’s where the sensationalism has come from. Americans are visa exempt and therefore eligible for the simplified ETIAS procedure.
Applying for a tourist visa in Europe is much more onerous and applies only to foreign nationals who face visa restrictions, such as those from Turkiye, Morocco, Vietnam, and many others.
What is the difference between an ETIAS and a visa?
Applying for a visa to enter the Schengen Area involves booking an appointment at a visa center, usually in the applicant’s country of residence, where they will be required to submit an extensive list of documentation demonstrating the following:
- Your planned itinerary in the Schengen Area
- They have purchased a return ticket or a connecting ticket outside the Schengen area when completing the itinerary
- Economic resources, which demonstrate that they have enough money to support themselves and other dependents, during their pleasure trip.
- Proof of accommodation, usually satisfied through hotel reservations or letters of invitation dated, signed and registered by a host who is a habitual resident of Europe.
- Any other documentation that shows they have strong ties to their country of origin or country of residence, such as property they own and/or proof of employment.
In addition to documentation, applying for a visa can take several months in certain locations, as appointment dates are limited and waiting time can be long.
There is also no guarantee that a visa will be issued, as the decision is in the hands of an immigration officer, and if they ever suspect that an applicant’s real goals are to overstay or migrate illegally to the Schengen Zone, either due to lack of financial resources or incomplete documentation, the tourist visa will be unceremoniously denied.
Visa fees can also be high, in €80 per adult, and Schengen visas are normally issued individually for each trip. This means that every time a non-visa-exempt foreigner wants to visit Europe; she must undergo the same procedure, regardless of the length of her intended stay.
As you may have guessed, an ETIAS is easiest way to getsince you are not required to reveal any of this private information or present any other document than your passport number, it costs only €7 and lasts for three years, or until the expiration of the ETIAS holder’s passport, whatever comes first.
Definitely Americans and other Westerners who are not EU citizens No they need visas to enter Europe, as ETIAS is a different category. In any case, the Americans are being saved from the worst of the infamous Brussels bureaucracy.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com