Before the end of 2022, Canadians can travel to the Schengen Zone (an area that covers 26 European countries) without a visa. They can stay for up to 90 days and enjoy some of the best cultural and historical hotspots on the continent. After this period, all Canadian citizens will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver before they can visit the Schengen Area.
The process is still simple. It’s still straightforward and Canadians will still be allowed to remain in the area for up to 90 days. But there are a few minor differences and it’s important to be aware of these.
ETIAS Visa Waiver for Canadian Citizens
The European Travel Information and Authorization System, or “ETIAS” for short, is an electronic visa waiver that covers travel to the Schengen zone. It’s not a visa, it’s essentially a document that is provided in lieu of a visa to state that a traveler is allowed to remain in the Schengen Area for up to 90 consecutive days in any 180-day period.
There are 26 member states in the Schengen area, including France, Spain, Germany, and Greece. Residents for over 60 countries around the world will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver to visit these countries, and that includes American and Canadian citizens.
Do Canadians Need to Complete an ETIAS Application Before Visiting Europe?
Yes and no. It’s important to remember that the Schengen Area does not cover all of Europe.
It covers 22 countries in the European Union (4 additional EU member states are expected to sign the agreement soon, but Ireland will not) and 4 countries from the European Economic Area. It does not include the United Kingdom, which is no longer part of the EU, and it also doesn’t include Russia, Turkey, and a few other popular destinations.
Generally, travel to Europe is relatively straightforward even outside of the Schengen Area. In the UK, for instance, Canadians just need a valid passport with at least 2 months validity remaining. They can visit completely visa-free and don’t need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver.
What are the Requirements for Canadian Citizens?
All Canadian citizens visiting the Schengen Area after the end of 2022 will need to complete an ETIAS visa waiver application.
It’s an online application process and it usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete. You will need a valid passport with at least 3 months validity remaining, and you will also be asked to enter some basic information about your citizenship, address, contact details, and the first country that you intend to visit.
Travel authorization will be sent electronically if your ETIAS application is successful and as soon as you have it, you’ll be free to visit any Schengen member countries.
Your information will be checked against several security databases, including those related to criminal records and visa applications, and if there is an issue the system will flag a manual review.
Is Canada a Member of the Schengen Area?
The Schengen Area only covers members of the European Union and the European Economic Area, so it only applies to countries in Europe.
Do Europeans Need a Visa to Enter Canada?
Travelers from the EU do not require a visa when they visit Canada. However, they must complete an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), which works similarly to the ETIAS, and can stay for up to 6 months.
The Most Popular Tourist Destinations for Canadians
When traveling to Europe, Canadians often make a beeline for the United Kingdom. The Royal Family is a big attraction for Canadian citizens, and they tend to include destinations like Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, London Bridge, and Stonehenge on their travel itineraries.
As far as the European Union and the Schengen Area is concerned, France is the most popular destination, with the majority heading for Paris and for attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, and the Champs-Elysees.