Canadians heading to Europe will be in for a big surprise next year if they don’t do their homework. And pay a small fee.
For years, Canadians have only needed a valid passport to visit most European countries. But the new rules that apply to the 26 so-called Schengen countries require that what is called an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) verification has been purchased online, and in advance, before Canadians can be checked in. admitted in Europe. At present they cost seven pounds sterling; about $ 12 CAD.
ETIAS will apply to citizens of all countries that benefit from visa-free entry into the Schengen area of the European Union, including Canadians and residents of 59 other countries (the United States and Australia are two of them). It will enter into force on January 1, 2021 and aims to track visitors in order to improve internal security in member countries.
According to the Daily Hive, an ETIAS verification will be required in 2021 to travel to any of the following countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein , Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. By the time ETIAS is implemented, there will likely be four more countries on the list: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, all of which are in the process of joining Schengen, Daily Hive reported.
The ETIAS requirement does not apply, at least for now, in the UK or Ireland.
It is said that approximately 98% to 99% of people who apply for accreditation will be approved. Yet, this is another layer of bureaucracy that many travelers may not be aware of at the moment.
The official website says the form only takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Visitors who currently need a visa to enter Schengen countries will not have to worry about ETIAS, which caters to visitors from countries that do NOT require a visa.
It’s a bit of a hassle so it’s definitely something travelers and agents / advisers should read.
Click on here to see the official Schengen visa website.