How to Enter the Schengen Area with an ETIAS Visa Waiver

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Heading to Europe in the next few years? Although you may be currently allowed to enter the Schengen area with just a passport, be aware that this process is changing.

Starting January 1, 2021, citizens traveling to the Schengen area from one of the 62 visa-exempt countries will need to apply for an ETIAS. It’s important to note that the ETIAS is not a visa, but rather a pre-travel authorization form. And most importantly, applying for an ETIAS can be done completely online and in just a few minutes.

What are the Schengen Area Regulations?

The Schengen area consists of 26 European countries. Under the Schengen agreement, travelers can freely move from one country to another without going through border control. That means you can drive from Italy to Germany, or fly from Belgium to Portugal without stopping for passport control.

Although most countries are in the European Union, some non-EU countries like Iceland and Switzerland also participate in the Schengen agreement. Likewise, Ireland and the United Kingdom are not part of Schengen, even though they are located in the EU. 

There are currently 62 non-EU countries that can enter the Schengen area visa-free. These travelers can visit the participating countries for business and travel purposes for a maximum of 90 days.

What is ETIAS?

If you’re a US citizen, you are able to enter the Schengen area visa-free for up to 90 days. However, new measurements are being introduced to help increase the security at EU borders. 

One of those solutions is ETIAS, which stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. ETIAS is an online security system that keeps tracks of visitors who enter the Schengen area. Applicants will undergo a detailed security check to see if they meet the necessary entry requirements.

This system is comparable to the United State’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA.

Starting January 1, 2021, visa-exempt nationalities, like US citizens, will need to complete an ETIAS application before traveling to a country in the Schengen area. The application takes just a few minutes and costs approximately $7-8.

With an approved ETIAS, you’ll be granted a three-year permit. This allows you to enter the Schengen Area as many times as you’d like during those three years, for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period.

How Can Help Me Get an ETIAS?

Applying for an ETIAS is fast, easy, and done entirely online. That means you do not have to interview at the embassy or consulate for approval. And best of all, ETIAS approval takes only a few minutes (although it can take a maximum of four days for some cases).

You can apply for an ETIAS directly with This online application process is straightforward, and only requires information from your passport.

If you have questions about the application process, then can also help. They provide high-quality support and customer service live chat to help you get your ETIAS as fast as possible.

Since ETIAS does not go into effect until January 1, 2021, the EU has not yet finalized the specific application process. However, you can still visit to find out if you’re eligible to apply for the ETIAS when it becomes available. 

You can also sign up for the newsletter. You’ll receive all updates and alerts about ETIAS, including when you are able to complete the application.

By providing enhanced security checks, the process for entering the Schengen area is slightly evolving. However, makes it easy to obtain a three-year ETIAS visa waiver with just a few simple steps. So if you have a valid passport and a few extra dollars, you can get your ETIAS for Europe in no time.

Tara Burgess
Tara Burgess
Tara is a full-time traveler and part-time street food addict. When she's not blogging her adventures at My Life in Wanderland, you can find her sipping a glass of wine or slurping a bowl of hot noodles.

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