ETIAS – European Travel Waiver vs. Schengen Visa

The ETIAS will not burden your finances a lot. It is planned to have the ETIAS cost only 7 euros for each application. This is only valid for adults over 18 years old, as those under 18 will not have to pay any fees. You can pay the fee by debit or credit card. Immediately after you complete the payment, the ETIAS authorization will start processing. If approved, the ETIAS might be valid for 3 years or until the end of validity of the travel document registered during application, whichever comes first. Whether you will get the first period of validity or the second depends on the system’s evaluation of your information and risk.

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 is an online system that runs a comprehensive security check on applicants to make border crossings easier and travel safer. Just one small error – even a misspelling – can delay approval or even cause denial of your entry into a participating ETIAS country. You must apply for ETIAS in advance of your trip. The approval process can take up to four days, but most applications are approved immediately.

Europe is an extraordinary travel destination, here are a few attractions you can visit. Puig des Molins translates as hill of windmills. Located just outside the old town, and on the original 7th century BC Phoenician settlement site, the area also contains a large, ancient, and well-preserved necropolis, with an estimated 3000 tombs (although only a handful of these are open to the public). The hillside is like a rabbit warren of tombs, most of which remain un-excavated, and you can follow a set route around the hypogea (burial chambers) and even descend into one. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is also an archeological museum on site, detailing the necropolis’s history century by century. Entry to the museum is very cheap and it makes for a fascinating visit.

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. Read more details at ETIAS EU.

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