Canadians travellers hoping to visit Europe will need more than a passport as of November 2023, as a digital “visa-waiver” application requirement comes into effect.
The European Commission allows citizens from countries like Canada and the US to enter the EU and Schengen Member Countries without a visa.
“However, the EU is wanting to strengthen its border security as well as digitally screen and track travellers entering and leaving EU countries,” the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) website states.
Applying for the ETIAS takes about 20 minutes and can be done by laptop or phone.
Travellers are recommended to complete their application 96 hours before travel. It’s free for those under 18 and over 70 but costs about CAD $10 for everyone else.
“The main stated benefit of the introduction of a compulsory ETIAS is to provide a database on travellers in a bid to tighten security in the Schengen countries.”
Only one ETIAS-approved application is needed per traveller to visit all ETIAS member countries, meaning travellers can freely move between Europe once approved. The visa exemption is good for 90 days after arrival.
Data requested in the ETIAS application includes passport information, home country address, email, phone, education, profession and “background and eligibility questions.”
“Such questions will pertain to any medical conditions or other infectious or contagious parasitic diseases” as well as criminal history and travel history.
“Canadian citizens can expect their ETIAS application to normally be processed and approved within minutes, and the authorisation is sent by email in the form of a PDF document. There is no need to print or present any documents as the ETIAS is stored electronically against the passport details stored in the European Immigration system.”