2022 will see the launch of the new ETIAS visa waiver for Europe’s Schengen Area.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is an upcoming online platform. It is part of a plan to improve border security for the Schengen Area.
Not all visitors can come to Europe visa-free. Only those with visa exemption will be able to use the ETIAS. Citizens of other countries will have to get a visa instead.
Travellers who qualify for a visa exemption can register online with ETIAS before setting off, to avoid the hassle of applying for a visa.
Annex II — visa waiver countries for Schengen
The European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries that make up the Schengen Area have a visa-free policy for visitors from certain other nations. The list of exemptions are known as the “Annex II” countries.
Following Brexit, the United Kingdom (UK) became the latest non-EU state to be added to “Annex II”. Brits can currently visit any Schengen member country visa-free. From 2022, it will be possible to get an ETIAS for UK citizens.
British citizens are not alone. The “Annex II” visa waiver list includes over 60 countries and territories. Anyone with a passport issued by any of these will be able to get travel authorisation through the ETIAS.
Nationals of the following countries will need to get the ETIAS visa waiver to visit Schengen without a visa from 2022:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Timor Leste
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
The remaining 4 “Annex II” countries are European microstates closely connected to Schengen member states. Citizens of these countries — Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City — will not need a visa or ETIAS registration to visit the Schengen Area.
In fact, travellers from other “Annex II” nations will be able to use the ETIAS to visit these 4 states in addition to the Schengen bloc.
What countries can you visit with the ETIAS?
Registering with ETIAS will be necessary to travel to any country in the Schengen Area without a visa. From 2022, it will be possible to do this online.
The Schengen Area consists of 26 European countries. Of these, 22 are members of the EU, while the remaining 4 make up the EFTA. In addition, 4 of the remaining EU countries are taking steps to join Schengen, with Croatia set to become an official member in the near future.
The Republic of Ireland is the only EU member state that will continue to have its own visa policy. There are no plans for it to join Schengen. The ETIAS, therefore, will not grant entry.
Due to the lack of border controls between Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City and the surrounding Schengen countries, these microstates are de facto part of the bloc as well. It is only possible to enter Andorra from either France or Spain. Similarly, San Marino and the Vatican can only be accessed from Italy.
It is possible to enter Monaco either through France or by sea. However, France is responsible for Monaco’s border control and travellers entering by sea must clear French immigration regulations as well as those of the principality.
This means that ETIAS will be needed to get to any of these 4 microstates.
How to get a visa waiver with the ETIAS?
The ETIAS will be simple to obtain. Before taking a flight to Europe, passengers will need to complete a quick online form.
A few personal and passport details and travel plans will be required. Then, the system will allow Schengen border authorities to screen the traveller. As long as there are no red flags, the visitor will be approved to enter.
The online nature of ETIAS makes it much more convenient than a visa. It will allow foreign nationals to get permission to enter any Schengen country from the comfort of their own home. Visas, on the other hand, must be applied for at an embassy, which means a trip to your nearest capital city.
It is worth noting that the ETIAS can be used for short-term stays. The visa waiver allows tourism and business trips. However, it does not give third-country nationals permission to work in Europe. Travellers planning to move to a Schengen state permanently should look into the relevant visas and permits needed for that particular country.
Still, the ETIAS will make trips to Europe for leisure or business easy for eligible visitors. Citizens of other countries must apply for a Schengen visa to take a holiday in any of the 26 member states. Compared to this, online registration is a piece of cake and a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with secure border control.