For visitors to the Schengen Area, the ETIAS can seem like a hassle. It’s another step, another demand, and more red tape preventing them from enjoying a simple holiday. But it’s actually very simple and once you have ETIAS authorization, it will last for several years and allow access for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
For more information, including specific details on what those often-cited terms mean, take a look below.
How Long is the ETIAS Visa Waiver Valid For?
The ETIAS visa waiver is valid for 3 years from the point of authorization, which is typically granted within 72 hours of completing the ETIAS application.
The authorization is tied to your passport and if your passport expires before that 3 year period, your ETIAS visa waiver will expire as well. For this reason, your passport needs to be valid for at least several months at the point that you apply for ETIAS authorization.
During that 3 year period, it grants you access to enter the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
90 Days/180 Days: What It Means
We mentioned that ETIAS authorization covers you for a 90 day stay within a 180-day period, but what does this actually mean?
As an example, if you visit on January 1st and leave on March 31st (89 days later), you will need to wait until after June 30 of the same year until you can return, at which point you will be able to stay for up to 90 days again.
It does not mean that you can only spend 90 days within all Schengen countries during that 3-year period and only applies to consecutive stays.
Where Can I Visit?
The ETIAS is a multi-entry authorization, which means that you can use it to enter all countries within the Schengen Zone without additional applications.
The Schengen Zone covers the following 26 countries:
- Czech Republic
What About Other Countries in Europe and the European Union?
There are several countries that are part of the European Union but are not in the Schengen Zone, and there are also several countries within Europe that are not part of either of these unions.
Ireland, for instance, is in the European Union but not the Schengen Area while the United Kingdom is no longer in the EU and it hasn’t signed the Schengen Agreement, either.
In such cases, you will need to check with local laws to see if you need a visa or if you are visa-exempt. More often than not (especially where the UK is concerned) the process is easier than with EU member states and Schengen countries, but there are exceptions.
What Can I Do With ETIAS Authorization?
As the name suggests, the ETIAS visa waiver is a waiver and not an actual visa. It cannot be used for longer than the stated periods and it does not grant you access to long-term study or work opportunities.
You could use it to conduct short-term courses and it’s also possible to use the ETIAS for medical and business travel, as well as for travel and transit purposes, but it’s not as all-encompassing as a visa.
The fact that it is valid for 3 years (or until your passport expires) and allows you to stay for up to 90 days at a time, makes the ETIAS perfect for seasoned travelers, business owners, and people who have family living in Europe.