ETIAS will be a mandatory entry requirement for visa-exempt third-country nationals soon after it is made available. From this point, all non-EU visitors shall undergo safety screening before entering Portugal or any of the other ETIAS countries.

Currently, travellers from places included on the EU’s list of visa-exempt nations can access the Schengen Area using just a valid passport. While this has provided quick and easy access to Europe, calls for greater security have led to the development of ETIAS.

ETIAS is not a visa, and individuals from visa-exempt nations will continue to enjoy the benefits of visa-free access from 2022 provided they register with the new system.

Which European countries require ETIAS?

The Schengen Area is a borderless travel zone made up of 26 European nations. The region includes top destinations, including Portugal, Germany, and Italy. Millions of tourists head to these hotspots annually; the ETIAS visa waiver aims to ensure potentially dangerous individuals cannot gain access.

ETIAS will also be necessary to go to several European microstates. One example is Monaco, as this landlocked nation does not have an airport it can only be accessed via France, a Schengen nation.

Registering with ETIAS online

To apply for ETIAS, eligible overseas travellers will fill out a short online application. As the process is fully electronic, the entire process can be completed from home, 24 hours a day.

The request form requires just a few personal details and passport information, including the number and expiry date. Applicants must also answer some additional health and security-related questions which are used to verify the eligibility of the individual to enter Europe. The risk of an epidemic can be reduced by preventing people with dangerous infectious diseases crossing the border.

How ETIAS will boost safety and security

Once an application has been submitted, the information provided is automatically cross-checked against several international data sharing systems. Some of those involved include Interpol, the European Criminal Records System (ECRIS), and the Schengen Information System (SIS). An ETIAS watchlist will also be compiled, containing the names of people considered likely to commit a criminal offense on European soil.

In most cases, there will be no hits during automatic processing, and the ETIAS request will pass almost immediately. On the rare occasion that something is flagged up as the traveller’s details are run through the system, the application will be reviewed manually by the ETIAS Central and National Units. These units will decide whether an individual can be granted access without compromising security.

ETIAS can also be revoked if circumstances change. European authorities will respond to threats and keep the continent as secure as possible based on current intelligence.

With this thorough screening system in place, Portugal and the other ETIAS countries will be protected from both health and security threats.

The benefits of travelling with ETIAS

Once the ETIAS visa waiver has been approved, it is linked automatically to the electronic chip inside the biometric passport. This means that, conveniently, there is no need for travellers to carry around a physical permit, the authorisation is detected when the passport is scanned at border security.

It is important to bear in mind that having a valid ETIAS visa waiver does not guarantee access to Europe. It is an essential step in being granted entry; however, border officials have the final say.

Another advantage is that ETIAS is valid for the entire Schengen Area. Applicants are asked to indicate which country they intend to visit first but, once they have crossed the external Schengen border, the same permit can be used to go to each of the 26 countries on one trip or separate occasions.

The ETIAS visa waiver is valid for 3 years, or until the passport expires. Multiple trips to Europe can be made during this time, providing each stay does not exceed 90 days in a 6-month period.

The visa waiver is essential to enter European nations for tourism purposes, visiting family and friends, and for business trips. ETIAS will also be required to transit through the Schengen Area en route to a third country.

The Schengen visa for Europe

To work or study in Europe, or to stay for longer than 3 months, the relevant permit or visa should be obtained.

Travellers from non-EU countries that are not included on the EU’s visa exemption list cannot apply for ETIAS. Such individuals will continue to require aSchengen visa for Europe. Like ETIAS, the same authorisation can be used across the travel zone however, the application process is lengthier, and additional supporting documentation is requested.

Overall, the introduction of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) represents a positive change in EU entry requirements. While European nations are safe, the new process for screening overseas arrivals will help to boost safety, protect public health, and offer greater peace of mind for tourists and locals alike.