- The ETIAS visa waiver for Europe functions similarly to the ESTA for the United States.
- This page discusses how ETIAS and ESTA function and the distinctions between them.
The European Union is implementing the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to increase safety and security inside the Schengen Area.
ETIAS is a visa waiver scheme with goals comparable to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization in the United States (ESTA).
The European ESTA visa waiver, or ETIAS, is intended to pre-screen visa-exempt travellers who desire to enter the Schengen Area, whereas the ESTA is intended to pre-screen individuals who wish to travel to the United States visa-free.
ETIAS: A NEW TRAVEL TAX?
When the European Commission adopted ETIAS, the EU counterpart of ESTA, there were suggestions that it constituted a new travel tax for Europe.
The European Union, on the other hand, proposed ETIAS in 2016 as part of a slew of new security and safety measures for the Schengen Area. The “EU ESTA” will be a new system for travellers who do not currently require a visa to visit Europe.
The EU’s ESTA, the ETIAS visa waiver, will be accessible in November 2023.
All citizens who do not require a visa to visit the EU will be required to do so. This includes US residents who will be able to apply online for an ETIAS for Americans.
ETIAS VERSUS ESTA
ESTA is for visitors to the United States, and ETIAS is for visitors to the European Union. Aside from this fundamental distinction, the systems are nearly identical: both require pre-departure registration for visa-exempt travellers.
Both programmes handle applications based on contact and passport information, as well as answers to specific health and security concerns.
The discrepancies between the ESTA and ETIAS are due to the terms of each visa waiver.
Both are multiple-entry travel authorizations, however the ETIAS for Europe is good for three years, whilst the ESTA is only valid for two years before it must be renewed.
Travellers interested in learning more about the ETIAS visa waiver can refer to these commonly asked questions regarding ETIAS.
WHO NEEDS A EUROPEAN ESTA?
Travelers from ETIAS-eligible nations will be able to visit all Schengen countries with a single travel permit under the ETIAS visa waiver.
American entrepreneurs will need to get an ETIAS to enter Europe for short business visits, just as European business travellers who often visit the US on an ESTA.
Similarly, ETIAS – Europe’s ESTA – will be required for tourists and people travelling to Europe for pleasure or to attend a conference.
Now that the Brexit negotiations are concluded and the United Kingdom has exited the European Union, British nationals will require ETIAS to travel to European nations. ESTA is already required for UK passport holders travelling to the US.
DOCUMENTS TO APPLY FOR ETIAS, THE EU ESTA
Once the applicant has the prerequisites for an ESTA for Europe in hand, the ETIAS visa waiver application form will be quick and straightforward to complete.
When submitting an ETIAS request, applicants must have the following ETIAS requirements:
- A passport, valid beyond the intended travel dates
- An email address where the applicant can receive updates, as well as the ETIAS
- A credit or debit card to pay the ETIAS fee
TRAVELLER INFORMATION REQUIRED BY ETIAS AND ESTA
ETIAS and ESTA cross-check the information they collect against multiple international databases.
The following information is required to apply for an ETIAS (or an ESTA):
- Personal information (name, date and place of birth)
- Passport information (number, country and issue and expiry dates)
- Contact information (email address, mobile phone number)
- Questions about previous travel, criminal history, and health
ETIAS AND ESTA ARE OBTAINED ONLINE
The ESTA for Europe and the ESTA for the United States are both acquired online using a web form.
The electronic processing of the EU ESTA and the US ESTA eliminates the need for visits to the embassy or consulate. Both travel authorizations have faster processing timeframes than consular visas.