Citizens of certain countries worldwide have the right to enter countries in the Schengen Area of the European Union (EU) without a visa, provided they are visiting for 90 days or less. They are, however, required to attain authorisation from the EU authorities, via a visa waiver program, prior to entering the Schengen Area.

This authorisation is attained via the submission of a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) application form. Countries which are not part of the EU, such as Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland, but are member states of the Schengen Agreement may also be visited if ETIAS authorisation is granted. It is important not to confuse Schengen countries with the EU, and although the majority of Schengen countries are members of the EU, not all EU countries are part of the Schengen Area. Countries such as Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus are EU member states; however they are not part of the Schengen Agreement and hence cannot be visited without a visa, despite a successful ETIAS application.

When registering an ETIAS form, a multitude of mistakes can be made which shall negatively impact the application. Applicants ought to review the application recommendations made below before filling out an ETIAS form.

Registering an ETIAS Application Form

Every question is important on the ETIAS form. Consequently, it is important for the applicant to thoroughly read each statement and question, to ensure that they understand the questions and provide appropriate responses.

Honesty is crucial, and each question must be answered honestly by the applicant. Answers which are tailored to create a desired impression, believed to lead to application approval, shall ultimately detriment the applicant. All information provided on ETIAS forms are cross-referenced with multiple databases which certify the applicant’s answers as truthful. If false information was provided, the applicant may be denied entry into the EU and Schengen countries.

Applicants must adhere to a strict 20-minute time limit when filling out their ETIAS application form while applying online. After 20 minutes, the ETIAS webpage shall expire and all information entered into the ETIAS form shall not be retained for further use. Applicants shall have to re-enter and resubmit all information. The applicant may receive a notification when applying for their ETIAS form which states the time limit; however, this notification may not be continually displayed.

Review and Submission of an ETIAS Application Form

Biological information, such as gender, date of birth, name, and country of origin/citizenship is fundamental to an accepted application. It is strongly recommended that the applicant reviews the ETIAS form before submission and ensures that all information, especially biological information, is true and correct. Incorrect biological information is likely to result in the rejection of the ETIAS application and refusal of entry into the EU and Schengen countries.

After the ETIAS application has been reviewed, and the applicant confirms that all answers and information provided is true and correct, the applicant can submit their ETIAS application.

ETIAS Application Payment

Payment is another crucial area of the ETIAS application process, which may invalidate the application if it is done incorrectly. Applicants must ensure that they are using a payment method or credit/debit card which is accepted by the ETIAS, in addition to ensuring that they have sufficient funds. Applicants are also advised to review any restrictions which may be imposed by their card provider, as some restrictions may deny payment. If payment is rejected due to any reason, the ETIAS application shall not be processed, and hence shall not be approved. Furthermore, any form of “chargeback” or “charge reversal” is not advised when paying for the ETIAS application, as this is likely to result in the application being withdrawn or cancelled for reasons of payment failure.

Final ETIAS Considerations

The applicant is strongly advised to avoid any form of conflict with police or law enforcement prior to their departure. Any form of legal conflict with a criminal connotation may affect ETIAS authorisation, regardless of whether the ETIAS application was approved prior to an arrest or conviction. The EU authorities have the right to mark an ETIAS application for reassessment, and reserve the right to rescind ETIAS authorisation if new information is obtained.