Get ready for ETIAS, the European Travel Information System

An ETIAS travel authorisation does not reintroduce visa-like obligations. There is no need to go to a consulate to make an application, no biometric data is collected and significantly less information is gathered than during a visa application procedure. Whereas, as a general rule, a Schengen visa procedure can take up to 15 days, and can in some cases be extended up to 30 or 60 days, the online ETIAS application only takes a few minutes to fill in. The validity will be for a period of three years, significantly longer than the validity of a Schengen visa. An ETIAS authorisation will be valid for an unlimited number of entries.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), ETIAS is an important first step in the “digitalization of travel.” The end goal is the use of biometric technology – think fingerprints and facial recognition – to help provide the ultimate in security. The European Union (EU) agency driving this digital initiative is eu-LISA, the European Agency for the Operational Management of Large Scale IT Systems. It’s the very first EU agency established for the sole purpose of border and migration policies. Since it began operations in 2012, eu-LISA has been moving toward an all-digital, interoperable system so every key EU agency can get critical information to people on the front lines, such as border control and police.

ETIAS, the European Travel Information System, provides qualifying visitors a visa waiver when traveling to the Schengen Area, a group of European countries that have agreed upon who can visit and how long they can stay. The Schengen Area was created by the European Union, or EU, in the spirit of harmonious and free travel between borders and has grown to 26 countries – most are in the EU but some are not. Given the influx of international travelers to the Schengen Area, more comprehensive security checks have had to be put in place. ETIAS, much like ESTA in the United States, will create centralized data on who is visiting and why, providing enhanced security for all.

ETIAS approval allows you to bypass time-consuming and potentially costly visits to embassies and consulates. ETIAS is not a visa. It is a visa waiver. If the purpose of your trip does not fall under the scope of ETIAS, you will need to apply for a traditional visa with each country on your itinerary.

Europe is an amazing travel destination, here are a few attractions you can visit. The port city known as Ibiza Town is the largest and pretiest destination on the island. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Ibiza Town boasts a walled fortress as well as cobblestone streets. Locals call the city Eivissa. Ibiza Town is divided into sections: Dalt Vila and Eixample. Perched above the water, Dalt Vila, or Old Town, is the historic area filled with world-class restaurants and a great selection of bars. Below, you’ll find Eixample, or Extension, where most of the newer buildings can be found. While visiting, be sure to check out the Cathedral called Our Lady of the Snows, which offers perhaps the best views in the entire town.

The ETIAS form is accessed directly online. You’ll be prompted to provide your passport details and asked to answer a list of security questions, so have your valid passport handy before you begin. You’ll also need a credit or debit card to complete the process. Once you’re finished, the form is submitted immediately. See extra details at ETIAS.

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