Europe offers plenty of diversity, from culturally-rich cities to rustic villages. And, a long history and stunning landscapes add to the variety. As a result, there's something for everyone. However, before planning your trip you need to make sure that your European visa is in order.
Some travelers will need to apply for a visa waiver to visit many European countries in the future. Be prepared and read more about ETIAS.
Present Visa Requirements for Canadians Entering Europe
Canadians do not need a visa to visit most European countries for up to 90 days. But this will change.
Canadian travelers can currently enjoy visa-free entry to Schengen countries. You need a valid passport with at least three months’ validity remaining from the date of exit. You should have proof of travel funds too. And, you might need a good reason for traveling.
The situation is due to change with the start of ETIAS, expected to begin in 2021.
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS stands for the European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a visa waiver initiative that aims to protect Europe’s borders. The automated process will check details against security databases. People who may be a threat will be denied entry.
The system seeks to strengthen anti-terrorism measures. It will complement existing requirements. Plus, it will prevent unauthorized migration. It is to add to existing border management efforts. Applying should be a quick and easy process for most people.
The ETIAS program is planned to start in 2021.
How Can Canadians Apply for an ETIAS Visa Waiver?
At the moment, Canadians do not need to apply for a European visa.
In the future, people can apply for an ETIAS visa waiver online. Simply complete your details on the application form. Questions will also be related to health and security. Plus, travelers need to give details of which Schengen country they will enter first.
To apply, you must have at least six months on your passport. You can pay online by credit or debit card.
The decision will be emailed to you. You should get approval within a few minutes, but plan ahead. Travelers are advised to apply for the ETIAS waiver at least three days in advance.
You will need to print off the valid ETIAS visa waiver. Show your papers to border officials on entry.
What Countries Will the ETIAS Program Cover?
The ETIAS scheme will apply to all countries within the Schengen Area.
The Schengen Area is all countries that signed the Schengen Agreement. The treaty created a common visa policy and removed border controls.
The Schengen Area is NOT the same as the European Union (EU). Also, it does not cover all countries that are geographically in Europe.
Several notable European countries are not in the Schengen Area. These include the UK, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia. You should check the entry requirements for these countries separately. Do note that if a country signs the agreement, they will be covered by ETIAS too.
At present, the Schengen Area includes 26 countries. They are:
Furthermore, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City have no borders with Schengen countries. They are not, however, part of the agreement. Practically, Andorra has no borders with the Schengen Area too.To conclude, be smart and keep up to date with changing visa policies. Don’t forget to apply for your ETIAS visa waiver when the new scheme starts. And, have a great trip to Europe!