Last News
12 May, 2022

Visa-free travel to Europe: Tourists will need a permit through the ETIAS system

From May 2023, tourists who have the right to travel without a visa to the European Union and Schengen will require a special permit. Citizens of these countries will be screened through the ETIAS electronic system.

We tell you how the new system works, what the check consists of and for how long a permit is issued.

New ETIAS information and permit system: visa-free travel to Europe will require prior verification
Photo: Adobe Stock

ETIAS or The European Travel Information and Authorisation System is a new European information and authorisation system for citizens with visa-free access to EU and Schengen countries.

Now, foreigners who visit the European Union without visas enter the states for free and without inspection. The EU is stepping up security controls at the border. Tourists will be required to undergo mandatory ETIAS screening before entering the country. Transit passengers will also be required to undergo screening.

Since 2016, the EU has developed preliminary rules for the system and agreed to connect ETIAS to international databases. These include:

  • Schengen Information System;
  • EU Visa Information System; 
  • Entry-Exit System (EES);
  • Eurodac fingerprint database;
  • Database of criminal records of third-country nationals;
  • Europol and Interpol databases.

Tourists with a permit will be able to visit all EU and Schengen countries. But first, they have to arrive in the country they indicated first in the permit application. Who and how will apply for a permit.

Who will apply for an ETIAS permit and how

The ETIAS system works only online, it is not possible to apply in person. To get a permit, tourists need a passport and access to the Internet. The new permit for visa-free entry to the European Union and Schengen countries is granted to citizens of 58 countries.

AmericaCaribbeanEuropeAsia
ArgentinaGrenadaAlbaniaJapan
BrazilDominicaGeorgiaUAE
MexicoAntigua and BarbudaMoldovaMalaysia
USASt Kitts and NevisSerbiaSingapore
CanadaSt LuciaUkraineIsrael
A complete list of 58 countries on the ETIAS website

A permit will also be required for citizens of EU member states that are not part of the Schengen area, namely Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. The European Commission has announced this.

Tourists fill out an application on the system's website at least 96 hours before their trip. Applicants indicate personal information, education, home address, place of work, information about citizenship. You also need to specify what country the person is going to visit first.

The system checks the information with the connected databases and determines whether there are grounds for refusal. The EU Council expects the verification to take from 5 to 10 minutes.

If the system finds no match in the databases, the travel authorization is issued automatically. If the system finds a match in one of the databases, the application is forwarded to specialists for examination. Then they make the final decision - to issue a travel permit or to reject the application.

If rejected, the tourist has the right to appeal the decision. Or write the application all over again, if the reason for rejection is incorrect information.

ETIAS permit for visa-free travel is valid for 3 years or until the expiry of the passport. The cost of verification is €7. For children up to 18 years old and people over 70 years old the verification is free of charge.

Which countries on the ETIAS list can be granted citizenship by investment

Montenegro and five Caribbean countries offer investors second citizenship. With the passport of these countries, investors can travel visa-free to more than 120 countries, including the EU and Schengen. Investors are entitled to stay in the territory of the European Union for 90 days per semester.

A passport of the Caribbean country may be obtained by the investment of $100,000 or more. Registration takes from 2 months. Governments offer investors several options to choose from.

CountryInvestmentsInvestment option
DominicaFrom $100,000Non-refundable fee
Purchase of real estate
St LuciaFrom $100,000Non-refundable fee
Purchase of real estate
Buying government bonds
Investing in a local business
Antigua and BarbudaFrom $100,000Non-refundable fee
Purchase of real estate
Starting a business
St Kitts and NevisFrom $150,000Non-refundable fee
Purchase of real estate
GrenadaFrom $150,000Non-refundable fee
Purchase of real estate

A Montenegrin passport is obtained for investments from 472,000 €. Registration takes about 6 months. To obtain a passport, investors pass due diligence, make a non‑refundable contribution to a government fund, and buy a stake in a government‑approved real estate project, such as a resort or hotel.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for Caribbean and Montenegro citizenship programs. If you would like to obtain a second passport and travel freely around the world, seek advice from our investment program experts.

Visa-free travel to Europe: Tourists will need a permit through the ETIAS system

Author: Mary Cube

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