It is from 2021 that the ETIAS system should become operational in Europe. If you have never heard of it or if the outlines of this project remain unclear to you, you have just arrived on the right page. Our experts in administrative formalities relating to travel, in particular the American ESTA , today deliver their latest news on the implementation of ETIAS, not affecting European citizens but foreigners who previously benefited from a visa exemption for visiting EU countries, and more specifically the Schengen area.


There is no doubt that the US visa waiver program, called “VWP”, inspired the European ETIAS project. Aiming to strengthen internal security while offering simplified access to its territory for nationals of the countries concerned, the American system includes the issuance of an authorization. It is ESTA, simpler (online form to fill out) and less expensive to obtain (from $ 14) than a conventional visa.

While 38 member countries take advantage of the “Visa Waiver Program” to easily travel to the USA with an ESTA, around 60 states will join the ETIAS program from 2021. These countries do not currently need Schengen visa. Once the ETIAS is in force, their citizens will have to comply with the new online procedure: a form to complete. Like ESTA, this relates to tourists, business or transit travelers, entering European soil (more precisely the member states of the Schengen area) for short stays (90 days maximum). Once in your pocket, the ETIAS remains valid for 3 years, unlike the ESTA whose validity period reaches 2 years.

Please note: the European Union and the Schengen area should not be confused. The second includes most, but not all, EU members; in addition, 4 European countries are part of Schengen but not of the Union (Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein). In addition, some have joined the euro zone, while others still operate with their own currency.

Here are some examples of countries whose nationals will have to order an ETIAS:


In order to collect as much information as possible about travelers from the countries mentioned above, the European authorities will set up a computer questionnaire. All visa-exempt visitors must provide various personal information, such as the ESTA request (date and place of birth, e-mail address, name, postal address, etc.), including details of their health and criminal record. Depending on the risks assessed for national security and that of the whole of Europe, ETIAS will be granted or refused. The response will be sent electronically to the requester, in their email inbox, with further information in case of refusal. Moreover, the latter can also come from an input error. In this type of situation, the individual may try again later.

Without ETIAS Europe or visa, no visit possible on Schengen territory! In addition, holding a valid passport is essential.

All of this is part of a tense context linked to the numerous terrorist attacks on the European continent: Belgium, France, Germany, etc. These events, as well as the global climate, led to a hardening of European policy. Of course, as a French citizen, you will not need ETIAS Europe to move freely in Lithuania, Germany or Greece.