ETIAS application process
Before starting the ETIAS registration process, applicants must make sure that they have a:
- A passport, valid beyond the intended stay in Europe
- An email address
- A debit or credit card
Without a valid passport it is not possible to register for an ETIAS visa waiver. The email address is necessary to receive notifications in regards to the traveller’s ETIAS application status.
To obtain the European visa waiver to travel to the Schengen Area, applicants need to pay a fee before submitting the registration ETIAS form.
Important: ETIAS is not a visa, but a visa waiver, which means this travel document is meant to be a special travel permit or authorisation for all current visa-free countries as of late 2022.
How to apply for ETIAS visa waiver
Citizens from eligible countries should meet the ETIAS requirements and complete the registration form with their details. The ETIAS registration form should take applicants approximately ten minutes to fill out.
Citizens of over 60 countries are eligible to apply for ETIAS. When filling out the form they must provide a series of personal details which include:
- Full name (as it appears on the passport)
- Date and place of birth
Before submitting the ETIAS form, each applicant must answer a series of security questions, some of which are related to their health and former travels.
The information provided by applicants on the ETIAS online application is screened using several security databases such as EURODAC, Visa Information System (VIS) and Schengen Information System (SIS).
When completing the form, travellers are advised to carefully enter and revise their details as mistakes or inaccuracies could result in ETIAS not being approved.
How long does it take to obtain ETIAS
It will not take travellers long to obtain their ETIAS visa waiver. It is expected that the ETIAS system will process the majority of applications within minutes. However, travellers are advised to complete their application online at least 72 hours prior to their trip.
In similar visa waiver programmes in countries such as the USA, Canada, and Australia, about 95% of applications are quickly approved. A similar approval rate for ETIAS is predicted. When an ETIAS visa waiver has been approved, the applicant will be immediately notified via email.
Once ETIAS has been approved, it will be valid for a period of 3 consecutive years, or until the traveller’s passport expires.
The ETIAS visa waiver will grant its holder the right to travel to and within the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
An approved ETIAS can be used to visit member states of the Schengen Area on multiple occasions.
ETIAS cannot be extended. This means that once it has expired, it will no longer be valid. The traveller will need to register online again, and obtain a new travel authorisation to visit the region.
Approving or refusing the travel authorisation
On rare occasions, an ETIAS application may not be approved.
The system will screen all applications against security databases which include an ETIAS watchlist, Interpol and Europol. During this screening process, red flags that have been raised about certain travellers will be activated.
If there are discrepancies in the information provided by the applicant, ETIAS will likely be refused.
It is important to note that the ETIAS system is being developed to improve Europe’s border security. The objective is to identify individuals that may pose a threat, not to disrupt travel to the region. In fact, ETIAS is meant to provide a better travel experience for all third-country nationals who are visiting the EU member countries.
Reasons for ETIAS denial
An ETIAS travel authorisation could be denied for various reasons. Before applying, travellers should make sure they have a valid passport.
Please note the following reasons that could result in the ETIAS visa waiver being refused:
- The applicant’s passport is not valid
- The passport used on the ETIAS application was reported lost or stolen
- The applicant’s name appears on the ETIAS Watchlist
The information that an applicant provides on the ETIAS registration form should be truthful, verifiable and up to date. Europe’s security systems will discover if travellers have lied on their application.
It is also possible that a traveller’s application is approved, and later revoked. This could occur if:
- ETIAS was obtained in a fraudulent way such as giving false personal details or omitting criminal or medical background details.
- If the traveller’s details no longer adhere to their current status. For instance, if there has been a change of residency and has not been updated or notified
- If it is discovered that the citizen previously overstayed the allotted time by a Schengen member state
- The visitor’s passport is reported lost or stolen
What to do if ETIAS is denied
If an ETIAS online application is denied, the applicant will have the right to appeal.
Appeals will be made to the individual Schengen member state that was indicated as the first port of entry, and the decision will be made in accordance with the laws of that country.
In these cases, applicants will be kept informed about the appeal process. If the appeal is not successful and the applicant believes their treatment has not been fair, they will have the right to request information from the national authority regarding the reasons for their visa denial and seek an amendment.