Out of the 195 countries in the world, 62 of them allow for visa-free travel to 26 European countries in the Schengen area. All the rest are required to get a short-stay Schengen visa in order to visit. Until now, travelers from countries who can enter the Schengen area visa-free were able to simply show their passport at the airport and be on their way. However, this is about to change in 2021. Since these changes are coming really soon, we should go over what these new requirements will be.
What Is the ETIAS Authorization?
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For people traveling to the European Schengen area, a new ETIAS authorization will be required. To start, ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. This is a new electronic travel authorization given to people who are not deemed a threat to the security and safety of the EU and its people.
While this is not a visa, it does act as a sort of pass into Europe’s Schengen area. You will be required to fill out an online application form where you will be requested to enter personal information. The system will then automatically cross-reference the information you provided against multiple databases to see if you are a potential threat. If you are cleared and approved, you will be able to enter the 26 Schengen area countries, just like you were able to prior to the ETIAS authorization requirement.
You will be able to travel across the borders of those countries as much as you like for up to 90 days within a 180 day period. This matches what you would have been able to do before the ETIAS was implemented.
What Is the Schengen Visa?
Most people hold passports for countries which do not enjoy visa-free travel to the European Schengen area. If you are from any of those places, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa. Once you receive this visa, you will be able to enjoy the same perks someone from a visa-free country has. This means you will be able to travel in and around the Schengen area countries for up to 90 days within a 180 day window.
When applying for a visa, you will have to take note of the rules. Every country has its own rules when it comes to obtaining a Schengen visa. Also, if you want to spend more than 90 days in the EU, you will have to apply for a different type of visa.
Schengen Visa Types
There are several reasons which you can specify when applying for a Schengen visa. These are:
- Business reasons
- Visiting friends or family
- Tourist travel
- Cultural and sporting events
- Air and sea transits
- Official visits
- Medical reasons
- Short-term studying and researching reasons
If you want to enter Europe multiple times over several years, you are allowed to get an EU visa which would be valid for up to 5 years. However, the same rule applies in regards to staying in the EU for up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
Now that you know the difference between an ETIAS and a Schengen visa. Wherever you would be coming from, you will be able to enjoy 90 days within a 180 day period in any country within the European Schengen area.