Canada And Australia Become The Latest Countries Requiring New European Travel Permit
Earlier this March, the European Union announced that starting in 2021, visitors from America will have to obtain an additional authorization, similar to a visa, in order to visit Europe’s Schengen Area. The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is an entirely electronic system implemented in the hopes of keeping a closer eye on irregular migrants and those who may pose a security threat to Schengen Area countries.
Now Canada and Australia have also been included in the countries whose residents are required to obtain an ETIAS prior to arriving in Europe.
In a press release the EU explained the idea behind the electronic ETIAS pass stating: “Nationals of visa liberalization countries will still be able to travel without a visa but will have to obtain a simple travel authorization prior to their travel to the Schengen Area. This will help identify persons who may pose an irregular migration or security risk before they arrive at the border and significantly enhance the security of the external borders.”
While this may come as an inconvenience for many North Americans as well as Australians, both Canada and the United States established almost identical programs years ago: the Canadian ETA and the American ESTA respectively.
The Schengen Area is a group of 26 countries, 22 of which reside in the European Union, between which someone can travel through without ever visiting passport control, customs, or immigration. It covers most of the EU countries, with the exception of a few, such as Ireland, the UK, while other absentees like Croatia and Bulgaria are currently working to become Schengen member-countries.
European travel authorities say that only countries whose citizens currently don’t need a visa to travel in Europe need to obtain the ETIAS, adding that the process can be completed online in less than 10 minutes – costing only 7 Euro. In contrast, a formal visa can take weeks to acquire, involving more costly fees, and visits to international embassies or delegations.