Are you planning to travel to Europe soon? Well, since Canadian are visa-exempt for Schengen zone, beginning in 2021, there is an additional requirement – the ETIAS.
During the European state of the union address, ETIAS an electronic security measure targeting nationals from Schengen visa-exempt countries was approved. ETIAS keeps tracks of foreign travelers with a real-time update when they cross mutual Schengen borders and reinforces the visa liberation policy of the European Union.
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS is an electronic system that stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is not a visa but rather an authorization that provides single access to all Schengen countries. Still does not guarantee access to Schengen visa-free zone for Canadian with questionable records.
Until recently, Canadian only needed a passport to travel to the 26 Schengen countries. In alphabetical order, they include Austria,Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Sweden, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Hungary,Slovakia, Slovenia, Greece, Spain, and Switzerland.
Being a Schengen member state means travel and movement are less restricted between mutual border control. With less restriction security has been a challenge hence the introduction of ETIAS.
While travel is easy, security hasn’t always been guaranteed, but things are about to change for the better. Given the recent rise in international terror activities, the European Union has scaled its security efforts. With ETIAS, traveler’s data will be screened against the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), Schengen Information System (SIS), Visa Information System (VIS), SLTD (INTERPOL), EUROPOL, and EURODAC databases.
Such measures and availability of data ensure that individuals with criminal convictions who pose a threat to Europe are blocked from accessing the continent. Although not all travelers with a criminal record will be blocked from travelling authorities will have proper records of all persons moving between their borders. Canadians can travel at ease knowing their security is well taken care of while in Schengen countries.
Also, with the Stolen and Lost Travel Documents Database being integrated with ETIAS, individuals cannot steal passport form tourist and use the same to gain access to other Schengen countries. Travelers can report stolen passports, and authorities can alert the entire zone of the same to bar anyone from using stolen documents.
The ETIAS authorization is legally valid for three years. Canada has been selected to be among the pilot countries to use ETIAS. Once you have the approval, you can visit any Schengen country as long as you do not overstay past 90 days per country within the 180 days.
The ETIAS program is associated with many travel benefits. As mentioned earlier, travelers can obtain an ETIAS via an online application system that is simple to use. You will be required to answer some questions regarding your date of birth, address, name, and more. It is important to answer these questions correctly to make the process as seamless as possible.